Fall 2015 Living Writers Series kicks off October 8

Tonya M. Foster
Tonya M. Foster
John Keene
John Keene
Claudia Rankine
Claudia Rankine
Ronaldo V. Wilson
Ronaldo V. Wilson

Each quarter, the Humanities Division’s Living Writers Series brings visiting authors and poets into UC Santa Cruz classes to give students an in-depth look into the world of the working writer.

This fall, the series will focus on the theme of Creative Work & Critical Play. Curated by associate professor of literature Ronaldo Wilson, it runs from October through December on Thursday evenings at the Humanities Lecture Hall on the UC Santa Cruz campus.  

Creative Work & Critical Play features contemporary writers and artists who mine issues of race, sexuality, gender, and class through several genres and media--including poetry, fiction, critical prose, performance, sonic and visual art, and memoir.

The series kicks off on October 8 with CAConrad, who describes himself as “the son of white trash asphyxiation whose childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift.” He is the author of seven books; his latest is called Ecodeviance: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness.  
Tonya M. Foster (October 15) is the author of A Swarm of Bees in High Court and co-editor of Third Mind: Creative Writing through Visual Art. She is assistant professor of writing & literature at California College of the Arts, where she explores the poetics of place. Her poetry, prose, and essays have appeared in Callaloo, Tripwire, boundary2, NY Arts Magazine, NYFA Arts Quarterly, and the Poetry Project.

John Keene (Octoer 22) is the author of the novel Annotations; the text-art collection Seismosis with artist Christopher Stackhouse; and the short fiction collection Counternarratives. He has published his work in a wide variety of periodicals and anthologies, and has exhibited his artwork in Brooklyn and Berlin. Keene teaches in the departments of English and African American and African Studies, which he chairs, and also is a core faculty member in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark.

UC Santa Cruz associate professor of literature Ronaldo V. Wilson (October 29) is the author of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man, which received the 2007 Cave Canem Poetry Prize; Poems of the Black Object, winner of the 2010 Asian American Literary Award and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry; Farther Traveler, and Lucy 72. He has held numerous fellowships, and served as an artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Center for Art and Thought (CA+T).
Award-winning American poet, novelist, essayist, and former UC Santa Cruz lecturer Al Young (November 12) was named poet laureate of California in 2005. His 22 books include: poetry—Heaven, The Sound of Dreams Remembered; fiction—Who Is Angelina?, Seduction by Light; essays—Jazz Idiom: The Jazz Photography of Charles L. Robinson; anthologies—African American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology, The Literature of California (with Jack Hicks, James D. Houston, and Maxine Hong Kingston); and musical memoirs—Bodies & Soul, Kinds of Blue.

Juliana Spahr (November 19) edits the book series Chain Links with Jena Osman and the collectively funded Subpress with 19 others, as well as Commune Editions with Joshua Clover and Jasper Bernes. Co-author of Army of Lovers, she has also edited, with Stephanie Young, A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine-gun Feminism; as well as American Women Poets in the 21st Century, with Claudia Rankine.

Jasper Bernes (also November 19) is the author of two books of poetry, We Are Nothing and So Can You (2015) and Starsdown (2007). He is currently completing a book of literary history, Poetry in the Age of Deindustrialization, about the role poetry and art played in the post-industrial restructuring of labor.

Claudia Rankine (December 3) is the author of five collections of poetry including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays, including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; and the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Rankine won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry for Citizen, as well as the LA Times Book Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the NAACP Image Award. It was also a finalist for the National Book Award.  

All events take place from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the Humanities Lecture Hall, adjacent to Cowell College, on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Admission is free, and the public is invited. For more information, email rvwilson@ucsc.edu.

The Fall 2015 lineup:

10/ 8—CA Conrad
10/15—Tonya Foster
10/22—John Keene                                   
10/29—Ronaldo V. Wilson
11/5—Student Reading
11/12—Al Young
11/19—Juliana Spahr and Jasper Bernes
12/3—Claudia Rankine