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April 27 | 6:00 pm
photo by Joli Livaudais
This event is co-sponsored by Appalachian Journal and The Schaefer Center Presents series
Poet Nickole Brown received her MFA from the Vermont College, studied literature at Oxford University, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She worked at Sarabande Books for 10 years. Her first collection, Sister, a novel-in-poems, was first published in 2007 by Red Hen Press and a new edition was reissued by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2018. Her second book, a biography-in-poems called Fanny Says, came out from BOA Editions in 2015, and the audio book of that collection became available in 2017. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for four years until she gave up her beloved time in the classroom in hope of writing full time. Currently, she is the Editor for the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and teaches periodically at a number of places, including the Sewanee School of Letters MFA Program, the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNCA, and the Hindman Settlement School.
She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, North Carolina, where she volunteers at three different animal sanctuaries. Currently, she’s at work on a bestiary of sorts about these animals, but it won’t consist of the kind of pastorals that always made her (and most of the working-class folks she knows) feel shut out of nature and the writing about it—these poems speak in a queer, Southern-trash-talking kind of way about nature beautiful, but damaged and dangerous. The first of these new poems won Rattle‘s Chapbook Contest with the publication of To Those Who Were Our First Gods in 2018. A second chapbook from this project, an essay-in-poems called The Donkey Elegies, was published by Sibling Rivalry in January 2020. With Jessica Jacobs, she is the co-author of Write It, a collection of writing prompts from Spruce Books, an imprint of Penguin/Random House.
“Nickole Brown creates a new language for our relationships with non-human animals. Her poems are founded on fully embodied listening and yield insights that unify mind, body, and emotions. At a time when such inner and outer connections are too often severed, her poems show us the possibility of wholeness.” —David George Haskell, author of The Songs of Trees and the Pulitzer-finalist The Forest Unseen
“Brown is a savior of wild creatures, a lover of animals, an angel in waiting, a rescuer, a story teller.” —Washington Independent Review of Books (January 2019 Examplars, Grace Cavalieri)
“We no longer live lives close to those necessary others who are here with us, the animals, and so there is in us a great lack—of wisdom, of empathy, of attention. For this, Nickole Brown’s book-length poem The Donkey Elegies might well be first remedy. With great wisdom and empathy, and with exquisite attention to history, culture, language, gender, memory, and the beautiful, weary world about us, Brown allows us to truly see and for a blessed moment be with that most humble of beasts, and in so doing she challenges us to turn to the holinesses in our own worlds, to hold them close—closer yet.” —Joe Wilkins, author of Fall Back Down When I Die and When We Were Birds
FREE and open to the public
Thursday, April 27
Craft Talk — Writing in the Age of Loneliness: Eco-Literature and the Writer’s Task: 3:30pm
Book sales will follow each event.
Plemmons Student Union 201B, Table Rock Room
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Susan Weinberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
PARKING is free on campus after 5pm. We recommend the College Street Deck (from King Street, turn down College Street at the First Baptist Church). To reach the Student Union, cross College Street and follow the walkway between the chiller plant and the University Bookstore, passing the Post Office and entering the Student Union on the second floor. For further parking information or a map, please see www.parking.appstate.edu.
Writing in the Age of Loneliness: Eco-Literature & the Writer’s Task
We are now in the throes of a sixth mass extinction of plants and animals. Some call it the Antropocene, but biologist E.O. Wilson said it may be called by scientists and poets alike the Eremozoic, meaning “The Age of Loneliness.” If we take the worries of climate change and habitat destruction seriously — and in this lonely age potentially bereft of our fellow creatures — how can we help but feel an incapacitating sense of hopelessness that threatens to render things like literature and poems utterly useless? In this session, we’ll strive together to find ways past this potentially debilitating hurdle. We’ll ask questions that instead of silencing ourselves will urge us on: What is our responsibility as writers to this epoch? Can the average working person with limited access to nature make any difference? How might we depict the suffering of non-human but sentient beings? How can one write about plants and animals without producing work that is sentimental, overly personified, flat-lined with facts, or, worse, rendered incapable of communicating from its own rage? What impact can we make with our words? Depending on the time we have together, we’ll study poems that have their own solutions to these pitfalls and may try our hands at writing through this darkness with awareness, control, and yes, even hope.
ABOUT THE VISITING WRITERS SERIES
The Visiting Writers Series is named in honor of the late Hughlene Bostian Frank (class of 1968), a 2013 Appalachian Alumni Association Outstanding Service award recipient, past member of Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and ASU Foundation, long time member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advancement Board and generous supporter of Appalachian State University.
- The Gideon Ridge Inn
- Hellbender Bed and Beverage
- Appalachian Journal
- Appalachian State University Foundation, Inc.
- Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs
- Belk Library
- College of Arts and Sciences
- Department of English
- The Schaefer Center Presents
- University Bookstore
- Thomas McLaughlin
- Alice Naylor
- Paul and Judy Tobin