On Wednesday, September 23, some of Wesleyan’s fine creative writers will be reading from their work at the Russell House. The evening will combine prose and poetry, and it promises to be engaging and surprising. Lisa Cohen is a creative non-fiction author and has recently completed a group biography. Lisa charts the unconventional lives of talented women whose defiance of their contemporary norms has informed our own notions of identity and freedom, celebrity, sexual choice and the economy. Deb Olin Unferth recently joined the Wesleyan faculty and is teaching courses in fiction writing. Her post-realist, award-winning novel Vacation explores how even “thin efforts at intimacy” fail painfully, and how even the slightest coincidences generate powerful consequences. Elizabeth Willis has taught literature and writing courses at Wesleyan for many years, and recently was named to the new Shapiro-Silverberg Chair in Creative Writing. Elizabeth has accumulated many honors, including a recent prize (selected from over 4,000 entries) from The Boston Review. Fellow critic and poet Susan Stewart said of Elizabeth’s poems: They take up the sound of music and the surfaces of painting, yet clearly do what only poems can do. The voice of a person thinking, discovering, revising, is ever-present without any loss in grace or ease.
I am meeting with a group of alumni away from campus Wednesday night, so I’ll have to settle for a tape of the proceedings. I can only hope the abundant grace and ease of the evening won’t be lost! The readings begin at 8 pm.