Fall Series 2012

Ghassan Zaqtan and Fady Joudah
October 1, Monday, 8:00 pm
Amherst Books (8 Main Street)

Acclaimed Palestinian poet (and novelist, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, and editor) Ghassan Zaqtan has written ten collections of poetry and two novels; his poetry and prose have been translated into numerous languages. Of the new collection, Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, Cole Swensen writes: “Zaqtan’s poems are uncompromising in their direct engagement with daily life. . . Joudah’s brilliant translations capture not only sense, sound, and rhythm, but also pulse, infusing the English language with a new sensibility.”

Poet and translator Fady Joudah's first poetry collection, The Earth in the Attic, was a Yale Series recipient in 2007, chosen by Louise Glück who called the book “varied, coherent, fierce, tender; impossible to put down, impossible to forget.” His second collection, Alight, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press. Joudah’s translations of Mahmoud Darwish's poetry have earned him Banipal and PEN literary prizes. He is a practicing physician in Houston, Texas.

Patrick Pritchett
October 17th, Wednesday, 8:00 pm
Amherst Books

Patrick Pritchett’s most recent book, Gnostic Frequencies, has been called by Andrew Joron“a major contribution to the tradition of American radical lyricism,” while Norman Finkelstein describes it as “an extraordinary, audacious collection, filled with strange treasures and uncanny passages.” His 2005 book, Burn—Doxology for Joan of Arc, was hailed by Cole Swensen as“a stunningly lyrical consideration of belief and its power over fate.” Pritchett’s other collections include the artist’s book,Salt My Love, and the chapbooks Antiphonal, Lives of the Poets, andReside. He is a visiting lecturer at Amherst College.

Stephanie Reents ‘92
October 24th, Wednesday, 8:00 pm
Amherst Books (8 Main Street)

Lauren Groff, ’01, calls Stephanie Reents “a writer of terrific grace and power,” while The New York Times Book Review wrote, about her first book of stories, The Kissing List: “Reents’s characters are as sharp as they are sly, as intellectually brilliant as they are oddball. These stories are often funny, but there’s a satisfying dark edge to all this…quarter-life-crisis flounderin.”Her fiction has been included in the O. Henry Prize Stories and Best of the West and noted in the Best American Short Stories.   A former Rhodes Scholar and Stegner Fellow, Rents currently teaches at College of the Holy Cross and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Verlyn Klinkenborg
November 8th, Thursday, 8:00 pm
Amherst Books (8 Main Street)

Verlyn Klinkenborg is the author of Making HayThe Rural LifeThe Last Fine TimeTimothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, and, newly, Several Short Sentences About Writing. He has also written a long-running series of meditations on rural life for The New York Times, where he is a member of the editorial board. According to the Los Angeles Times: “Klinkenborg is neither naturalist nor nature poet, but he writes about nature with the science of the former and the soul of the latter.” He lives in upstate New York.            

Christopher Benfey
November 13th, Tuesday, 8:00 pm
Amherst Books (8 Main Street)

Christopher Benfey is a poet, literary critic, and author of four books about the American Gilded Age, including the award-winning A Summer of Hummingbirds. Most recently he’s published a family history, about whichThe New York Times Book Review wrote, "To paraphrase Emily Dickinson only slightly, there is no vessel like a book. Especially when it's as well wrought and far-sailing as Christopher Benfey's Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay.” Benfey is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of BooksThe New York Times Book Review, and The New Republic, among many other publications. He is Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke.

Spring Series 2013

Amity Gaige
February 14th, Thursday, 8:00
The Alumni House, Amherst College

Jennifer Egan calls Amity Gaige “a fresh, forceful young voice in American letters,” and praises Schroder, her newest book, as an “offbeat, exquisitely written novel.” Gaige is the author of two other novels, O My Darling and The Folded World. In 2006, she was recognized as one of the “5 Under 35” outstanding emerging writers by the National Book Foundation; she is also the winner of a Fulbright Fellowship, among many other awards. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, O Magazine, and the Literary Review. Gaige lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is the current Visiting Writer at Amherst College.

George Howe Colt
February 19th, Tuesday, 8:00
Amherst Books

George Howe Coltis the bestselling author of The Big House (2004), which was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times notable book of the year, and of the newly published Brothers, which Maile Meloy, writing for The New Yorker, described as “Part memoir, part exhaustively researched biography of famous brothers and how they drove each other, loved each other, fought, drove each other crazy, and supported each other through craziness…Insightful and harrowing and funny and stacked with stories.” Colt lives with his wife Anne Fadiman and their two children in Western Massachusetts.

Michael Tyrell
February 26th, Tuesday, 8:00
Amherst Books

Michael Tyrell is the author of the poetry collection The Wanted, which Michael Collier called, “sharp-eyed, intellectually inventive, playful, and darkly humorous… Tyrell looks at himself and cleaves the essential human matter of his perceptions onto the provocative and often sinuous lines of his verse.” Tyrell’s poems have appeared in The New Republic, The New York Times, and Ploughshares, among many other publications.With Julia Spicher Kasdorf, he edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn (NYU Press, 2007). He lives in New York and teaches writing at NYU.

Jennifer Clarvoe
March 12th, Tuesday, 8:00
Amherst Books

Jennifer Clarvoe's second book of poems, Counter-Amores, appeared in 2011. Her first book, Invisible Tender, won the Poets Out Loud Prize and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.  J.D. McClatchy writes, “Clarvoe’s canny perspectives, glistening details, and unnerving surprises are a constant delight. Her book places her at once in the starry company of poets like Elizabeth Bishop and May Swenson. I am moved and thrilled to know, here is the real thing, a poet.” A recipient of the Rome Prize in Literature, Clarvoe teaches literature and creative writing at Kenyon College, in Ohio.

Hector Tobar
April 16th, Tuesday, 8:00
Amherst Books

Hector Tobar is a Los-Angeles-born novelist and journalist. He is the author of three books, most recently The Barbarian Nurseries, which was named a New York Times Notable Book in 2011 and also won the California Book Award Gold Medal for Fiction, a distinction Tobar shares with John Steinbeck, among others. The Los Angeles Times called The Barbarian Nurseries “A book of extraordinary scope and extraordinary power.” Tobar has also worked as a reporter, and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 L.A. riots.