Creative Writing & Literature

Contemporary Writers Series 2011-12 « Return to Creative Writing & Literature Resources

Contemporary Writers Series
All readings are held in the Mills Hall Living Room (unless otherwise noted).

Cherríe Moraga
September 13, 2011, 7:00 pm, Student Union
Part of Latina Heritage Month 2011, co-sponsored with the Ethnic Studies Department and Mujeras Unidas.

Cherr&iacutee Moraga

Cherríe Moraga is a playwright, poet and essayist. She is the coeditor of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, which won the Before Columbus American Book Award in 1986 and is now in its third edition. Her collected nonfiction writings include: Loving in the War Years: Lo Que Nunca Pasó Por Sus Labios, Waiting in the Wings: Portrait of a Queer Motherhood, and most recently, A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness: A Decade of Discourse. She is currently is completing a memoir on the subject of Mexican American cultural amnesia entitled Send Them Flying Home: A Geography of Remembrance. She has been the artist-in-residence in the Department of Drama at Stanford University since 1996.

Rae Armantrout
October 4, 2011, 5:30 pm

Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout's 2009 collection Versed received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Armantrout's work attracts unique, vacillating attention: she has been called "the most lyrical of the Language poets" and her work also "the literature of the anti-lyric." Of this contradiction, she writes, "The lyric interests me. It gestures toward what's left out; it participates in a dialogue with the unspoken." Her most recent book of poetry is Money Shot. Previous collections include Next Life and Veil: New and Selected Poems. Armantrout has received many awards including those from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Fund for Poetry. She is a professor of writing in the literature department at the University of California, San Diego.

Zenon Fajfer and Katarzyna Bazarnik
October 11, 2011, 5:30 pm

Fajfer and Bazarnik

Zenon Fajfer and Katarzyna Bazarnik are the two leading names in the field of liberature, a new literary genre focused on "the indissoluble bond" between the text and the physical shape of the book. Fajfer, who created the term liberature in a 1999 essay/manifesto titled "Liberature (Appendix to a Dictionary of Literary Terms)," is a theoretician and a poet. Bazarnik is a senior lecturer in the Institute of English Philology at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, where she teaches courses on English literature, liberature, and theory, with a research emphasis on James Joyce. Together, they co-authored Oka-leczenie and (O)patrzenie, and coedit the "Liberature" series in Ha!art. Fajfer and Bazarnik also co-founded and run the Liberature Reading Room in Krakow, Poland.

New Literary Scholarship
Michelle M. Wright
November 8, 2011, 5:30pm

Michelle M. Wright

Michelle M. Wright is currently an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University, where she teaches courses on blackness and black identity in the United States, Europe, and the African Diaspora. Her courses and many publications emphasize the fluid, necessarily individualized nature of these identities as formed through the lenses of gender, sexuality, class, and other manifestations of time and space. Her current work in progress, The Physics of Blackness: Rethinking the African Diaspora in the Postwar Era, argues that the role of the "Middle Passage" as an anchor for African American identity is being challenged by new black identities brought by African and Caribbean immigrants both in the United States and across the African Diaspora. She has also coedited a number of anthologies, including Domain Errors! A Cyberfeminist Handbook; Reading the Black German Experience: A Special Issue of Callaloo; and Blackness and Sexualities.

Tyrone Williams
January 31, 2012, 5:30 pm

Tyrone Williams Tyrone Williams teaches literature and theory at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of three books of poetry, including The Hero Project of the Century, c.c., and On Spec about which Craig Dworkin writes, "Tyrone Williams maps the social space of language with an unflinching ear: tracing the networks of unintended associations trailing behind words from different registers and plotting the vectors at which disparate planes of idiom and vernacular intersect." His chapbooks include the recent prose eulogy "Pink Tie." A new book of "older" poetry, Adventures of Pi, is forthcoming from Dos Madres Press in 2011, and he has completed a manuscript of poetry commissioned by Atelos Books. For more information visit Tryone William's website.

Nuruddin Farah
February 7, 2012, 5:30–6:45 pm

Nuruddin Farah

Acclaimed Somali novelist Nurrudin Farah is the author of more than 10 books, including From a Crooked Rib and, most recently, Crossbones—the third novel in a trilogy that began with the novels Links and Knots. His work has been translated into 20 languages and won numerous awards. Farah was named the 1998 laureate of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature and has been nominated many times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Considered one of the most important writers in Africa, Farah now lives in Cape Town, South Africa, with his wife and their children.

Strange Democracy: A Performance
by Guillermo Gómez-Peńa
with a special musical introduction
by Mills Music Department Head Chris Brown
February 14, 2012, 7:00 pm
Note special location: Lisser Theater

Guillermo Gómez-Peńa

Following an immensely popular performance at the 2010–11 Contemporary Writer Series, noted performance artist and writer Guillermo Gómez-Peńa returns to Mills College for an all-new thought-provoking performance. A visiting writer at Mills for the spring 2012 semester,  Gómez-Peńa is both performance artist/writer and the director of the art collective La Pocha Nostra. He was born in Mexico City and came to the US in 1978. Since then, Gómez-Peńa has been exploring cross-cultural issues with the use of performance, multilingual poetry, journalism, video, radio, and installation art. His performance work and eight books have contributed to debates on cultural diversity, identity, and US-Mexico relations. His artwork has been presented at over 700 venues across the US, Australia, Canada, Russia, Europe, and Latin America. A MacArthur Fellow and American Book Award winner, Gómez-Peńa is a regular contributor to National Public Radio; a writer for newspapers and magazines in the US, Mexico, and Europe; and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYU-MIT).

Achy Obejas
March 6, 2012, 5:30 pm

Achy Obejas

Achy Obejas is a critically-acclaimed novelist, an award-winning journalist, a poet and a translator. Her most recent novel, Ruins, follows Usnavy, a "beleaguered hero" in Havana, Cuba during the "Special Period" in the 1990s after the Soviet Union's collapse and the tightening of US sanctions. Her poetry chapbook, This is What Happened in Our Other Life, was both a critical favorite and a bestseller. Among many translation projects, her translation (into Spanish) of Junot Díaz' The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao/ La Breve y Maravillosa Vida de óscar Waowas a finalist for Spain's Esther Benítez Translation Prize from the National Translator's Association. She was co-awarded a fellowship to develop an online anthology for young women from Columbia College's Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media.

Renee Gladman and Rena Rosenwasser
March 27, 2012, 5:30 pm

Renee GladmanRena Rosenwasser

Join us for a special evening with writers Renee Gladman and Rena Rosenwasser in celebration of Kelsey Street Press. Rosenwasser co-founded Kelsey Street in 1974 to address the marginalization of women writers by small press and mainstream publishers, and continues to serve in an advisory position as the Press looks to its 40th anniversary, establishing Kelsey Street as one of the longest-lived independent publishers of literature by women. Her most recent book of poetry is Elevators, which Jane Miller describes as "a labyrinth inside a travelogue inside a dream." Her poetry publications include Dittany (Taking flight), Unplace.Place, Desert Flats, and three collaborations with artist Kate Delos: Isle, Aviary, and Simulacra

Kelsey Street Press published Renee Gladman's first full-length book, Juice, in 2000, followed later by Newcomer Can't Swim in 2007. Gladman's novel The Ravickians, second book of the Ravicka trilogy, will be released by Dorothy Publishing Project in fall 2011. Other recent books include Event Factory and To After That (Toaf).  She teaches fiction and cross-genre writing at Brown University and is the publisher of Leon Works, an independent press for fiction, poetry, and the thinking text.

Directions to Mills

The literary events at Mills College are funded in part by the English Department and The Place for Writers. Poets & Writers, Inc. also supports the events through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation.

For more information, please call The Place for Writers, 510.430.2236, or Stephanie Young, 510.430.3130.