September 20, 2010

AMHERST, Mass—What follows are the dates, times and participants in the Amherst College Writing Center2010 Fall  Reading Series.

Amity Gaige

October 6, Wednesday, 8 pm

Amherst Books

Amity Gaige is the author of two novels, O My Darling and The Folded World, which The New York Times called, “stirring,” and Entertainment Weekly called “Exquisitely written [. . .] The bitterness and disillusion of marriage have been thoroughly plumbed in contemporary fiction; Gaige is one of the rare novelists who is more interested in its potential for happiness and grace.” Gaige, who was recognized in 2006 as one of “5 Under 35” outstanding emerging writers by the National Book Foundation, has received Fulbright and McDowell Colony Fellowships, among many other awards, and is currently the visiting writer at Amherst College.

Peggy O'Brien

October 14, Thursday, 8 pm

Amherst Books

Peggy O’Brien, the author of two collections of poetry, Sudden Thaw and Frog Spotting, has been acclaimed by The Irish Times for writing that is “subtle, elusive and tinged with erotic intensity.” Or, as Martín Espada puts it, “Peggy O’Brien writes with such intelligence, such sensitivity, such skill about everything, it seems, from the grace of dragonflies to a solemn march of wild turkeys to the memory of a poet-friend who lived joyfully and died young.” A member of the English Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, she is also the editor of the Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry.

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

October 21, Thursday, 8 pm

Amherst Books

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award, and Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Such a beautiful book is Ms. Hempel Chronicles, the kind that gives its reader profound insights into ordinary, everyday life,” while The New York Times described it “as an account of how nostalgia — both for what was and might have been — can generate a thousand mercies.” Recently named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by the The New Yorker, she directs the MFA program in writing at the University of California, San Diego.

Polina Barskova

November 11, Thursday, 8 pm

Amherst Books

Russian poet Polina Barskova published the first of her eight collections when she was still a teenager; her poetry has since been translated into French, German, Italian, Danish, and now, with the recent publication of This Lamentable City, English. Alicia Ostriker writes, “Lavishly mordant, magically bitter, erotically sardonic, the poems […] plant themselves on the far side of history’s hopelessness, where sometimes even a trace of love springs.” Publishers Weekly calls her “a poet whose voice is at once so intimate and taunting, it can be almost impossible to resist her.” Barskova lives in Massachusetts and teaches at Hampshire College.

Richard Wilbur ’42

December 2, Thursday, 8 pm

Pruyne Lecture Hall

In a review of Wilbur’s 600-page Collected Poems 1943-2004, The New York Times wrote, “The emergence of a poet like Wilbur as a hero to a new generation of critics is cause for hope: that readers, not gatekeepers, might rediscover poems written in the spirit of generosity and care, and disciplined by the idea of an uncaptive audience.” Or, as Slate put it, “Wilbur’s great poems feel as fresh—as astonishing, as perplexing, as shocking—as they did 50 years ago.” The former U.S. poet laureate’s vivid array of honors includes the National Book Award and two Pulitzer Prizes. He has recently returned to Amherst as a John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer.

All events are wheelchair accessible and followed by refreshments. For more information call 413/542-8200.