Talking Sense: Image, Sound, & Text in Literature

April 3, 2021 12:00PM
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Panelists: Douglas Kearney, Kristen Radtke, Valeria Luiselli, Will Boast, Ilya Kaminsky and Jennifer Scappettone. Moderator: Edgar Garcia



Douglas Kearney is a poet, performer, and librettist who has published seven books that bridge thematic concerns such as politics, African-American culture, masks, the Trickster figure, and contemporary music. His most recent collection, Sho, aims to hit crooked licks with straight-seeming sticks. Kearney is also the author of Buck Studies, which was awarded the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, and the silver medal for the California Book Award in Poetry. Kearney’s collection of writing on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and, was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection; and Patter examines miscarriage, infertility, and parenthood. He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, was named a Notable New American Poet by the Poetry Society of America, and has been awarded fellowships from Cave Canem and The Rauschenberg Foundation. His work has appeared in Poetry, Iowa Review, Boston Review, and Indiana Review, and anthologies, including Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, Best American Poetry, Best American Experimental Writing, and What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Poets in America. Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family a little west of Minneapolis, MN and teaches creative writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.

Kristen Radtke is the author of the genre-smashing graphic memoir, Imagine Wanting Only This (Pantheon, 2017), a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Nylon Most Anticipated Book. The Chicago Tribune raved, "Imagine Wanting Only This [is] one of the most haunting graphic memoirs I've ever read. . . . There is a proud tradition of graphic memoirists—of those dually equipped to wield word and image—to tell the true and deeply considered story of a life. Alison Bechdel, Roz Chast, Riad Sattouf, David Small, Marjane Satrapi, Art Spiegelman and others have done it searingly well. And now to that list add Radtke, who proves herself an equal among equals with this debut book. . . ." Her next book, Seek You:  Essays on American Loneliness, received  a 2019 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant. It will be published by Pantheon in 2021. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, The Atlantic, The Guardian, GQ, Vogue, Oxford American, and many other places.

Ilya Kaminsky is the author of the  widely acclaimed Deaf Republic (Graywolf, 2019), a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry, which Kevin Young, writing in The New Yorker, called a work of “profound imagination.” Poems from Deaf Republic were awarded Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize and the Pushcart Prize.  He is also the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004), and Musica Humana (Chapiteau Press, 2002). Kaminsky has won the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and The Foreword Magazine’s Best Poetry Book of the Year award. Recently, he was on the short-list for the Neusdadt International Literature Prize. His poems have been translated into numerous languages and his books have been published in many countries including Turkey, Holland, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China, where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize. His poems have been compared to work by Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, and Marina Tsvetaeva.

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions and Lost Children Archive. She is the recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship and the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, The Carnegie Medal, an American Book Award,  and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, and the Booker Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She is a Writer in Residence at Bard College and lives in New York City.

Will Boast was born in England and grew up in Ireland and Wisconsin. He's the author of a story collection, Power Ballads (2011 Iowa Short Fiction Award), and a best-selling memoir, Epilogue (W.W. Norton/Liveright, Granta Books). His fiction, essays, and reporting have appeared online and in print in The New Republic, Granta, Virginia Quarterly Review, Glimmer Train, The American Scholar, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications. He’s been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, a Charles Pick Fellow at the University of East Anglia, and a Literature Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. His debut novel, Daphne, was published by Norton/Liveright and Granta Books in Feb. 2018. He teaches at the University of Chicago and the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center in Rome.

Jennifer Scappettone’s writing grapples at the crossroads of poetics, scholarly research, translation, experimental pedagogy, and on-and-off-page arts. Her poetry books include From Dame Quickly (2009), The Republic of Exit 43: Outtakes & Scores from an Archaeology and Pop-Up Opera of the Corporate Dump (2016), and most recently SMOKEPENNY LYRICHORD HEAVENBRED: Two Acts, a chapbook hailing from a libretto composed for live “mixed-reality” performance with artists Judd Morrissey and Abraham Avnisan, and downloadable for free from the Vancouver-based press The Elephants. She spent a dozen years writing about the undeath of the past in the critical study Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice (2014), which received honors from the Modernist Studies Association. Her translations of the polyglot poet and refugee from Fascist Italy Amelia Rosselli were gathered in the award-winning collection Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (2012), and gave rise to a book manuscript she is in the throes of finishing devoted to translingual poetry across media, called “Poetry After Barbarism: Fascism, the Abracadabrant Word, and the Invention of a Motherless Tongue.” She curates PennSound Italiana, a section of the audiovisual archive housed by the University of Pennsylvania devoted to marginalized voices in Italian contemporary poetry. She has collaborated with dancers, architects, musicians, and other writers on performance works crafted for sites ranging from New York’s Fresh Kills Landfill to Rome’s Janiculum Hill. She currently lives on a disappearing beach a couple of blocks from the El and teaches across several programs at the University of Chicago.

Edgar Garcia is a poet and scholar of the hemispheric cultures of the Americas, primarily during the 20th century. Winner of the 2018 Fence Modern Poets Series award, his collection of poems and anthropological essays on hemispheric migrations—Skins of Columbus: A Dream Ethnography (which also received an award from the Illinois Arts Council)—was published by Fence Books in 2019. His book of scholarship on the contemporary life of the seemingly antiquated sign-systems of the Americas—Signs of the Americas: A Poetics of Pictographs, Hieroglyphs, and Khipu—was published by the University of Chicago Press in November 2019 (a selection of this work received honors from the Modern Language Association in 2020). He also co-edited an anthology on the transnational contexts of American literature, American Literature in the World: An Anthology from Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler (Columbia University Press, 2016). Currently, he is working on two books: one is a rethinking of risk and migration in humanistic frameworks (as opposed to statistical ones); the other is a collection of essays on the K’iche Mayan story of creation the Popol Vuh. Garcia is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago.