Orange Alert

SU creative writing program announces spring lineup for Raymond Carver Reading Series

Six writers, six poets visit campus

Feb. 3, 2010, by Rob Enslin

The spring 2010 lineup for Syracuse University’s Raymond Carver Reading Series features memoirist and poet Peter Conners (Feb. 3), poet and photographer Thomas Sayers Ellis (Feb. 17), novelist and short-story writer Christine Schutt (March 3), fiction and nonfiction writer Amy Hempel (March 31), poet Alan Shapiro (April 21), and poet and novelist Laura Kasischke (April 28).

Presented by the M.F.A. program in creative writing in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, the series each year brings six fiction writers and six poets to campus to read their works and to interact with students. Each event begins with a Q&A session at 3:45 p.m. and is followed by an author reading and book signing at 5:30 p.m. All activities take place in Gifford Auditorium in H.B. Crouse Hall and are free and open to the public. Parking is available in SU pay lots. For more information, call (315) 443-2174.

“Each year, we host a dozen major writers and poets who engage students and the campus community,” says Christopher Kennedy G’88, director of the creative writing program. “This kind of interaction is indicative of the personalized instruction in the creative writing program. It also speaks to our goal of becoming the premier residential liberal arts college in the nation.”

Conners is author of the critically acclaimed memoir “Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead” (Da Capo Press, 2009). The Upstate New York native is also author of the forthcoming “White Hand Society: The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg” (City Lights Books, 2010) and the poetry collection “The Crows Were Laughing in Their Trees” (White Pine Press, 2011). His other recent books include the novella “Emily Ate the Wind” (Marick Press, 2008) and the prose poetry collection “Of Whiskey and Winter” (White Pine Press, 2007). His writing regularly appears in the nation’s top literary journals and anthologies, including “Salt Hill,” “Poetry International” and “Mid-American Review.” He serves as editor of “PP/FF: An Anthology” (Starcherone Books) and as editor/marketing director of BOA Editions in Rochester.

Ellis is a poet and photographer whose debut collection, “The Maverick Rooms: Poems” (Graywolf Press, 2004), explores the social, historical and geographical neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., and has won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award. He also is author of the chapbook “The Genuine Negro Hero” (Kent State University Press, 2001) and of the chaplet “Song On” (Wintered Press, 2005). Ellis serves as assistant professor of creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and as a core faculty member of Lesley University’s Low-Residency M.F.A. Program. Known as a literary activist and innovator, he co-founded the Dark Room Collective in Boston in 1988 to support established and emerging African American writers. He is a contributing editor to “Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters” and is a consulting editor to “A Public Space” magazine.

Schutt (picture above) burst on the literary scene in 1996 with her short-story collection “Nightwork” (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), which poet John Ashbery named the year’s best book in The New York Times literary supplement. She went on to write her first novel, “Florida,” (TriQuarterly Books, 2003), which became a National Book Award finalist for fiction in 2004. Schutt has since written another story collection, “A Night, A Day, Another Night, Summer” (Mariner Books, 2006), and the novel “All Souls” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She currently serves on the English faculty of The Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City and, this semester, is a visiting writer at SU.

Hempel is SU's Richard Elman Visiting Writer. Her first story collection, “Reasons to Live” (Penguin, 1985), won the silver medal from The Commonwealth Club of California’s annual book awards. She has since published four other books, including “The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel” (Scribner, 2006), which won the Ambassador Book Award and was named one of The New York Times’ “Ten Best Books of the Year.” Other honors include the George Hobson Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Hempel has taught at numerous institutions, including Harvard University, where she is the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction. This lecture is made possible by the Richard Elman Memorial Fund for Creative Writing, established by Leonard and Elsie Elman, both of the Class of '52.

Shapiro is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has published 10 books of poetry, including “Old War” (Houghton Mifflin, 2008). He has been the winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award and a Los Angeles Times Book Award in poetry, and has been a finalist in poetry and nonfiction for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Other honors include two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, the O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., the Sarah Teasdale Award from Wellesley College, and an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Shapiro is an English faculty member of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill whose latest work is a translation of the Euripides classic “The Trojan Women” (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Kasischke has published seven collections of poetry and seven novels, the most recent of which are the “Lilies Without” collection (Ausable Press, 2007) and “In a Perfect World: A Novel” (Harper Perennial, 2009). Other novels include “The Life Before Her Eyes” (Harvest Books, 2002), “White Bird in a Blizzard” (Hyperion Books, 1999) and “Suspicious River” (Houghton Mifflin, 1996), all of which have been translated widely and adapted for film. Kasischke serves as associate professor of English language and literature in the University of Michigan’s M.F.A. creative writing program. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Juniper Prize for her poetry collection “Dance and Disappear” (University of Massachusetts Press, 2002).

Named for the great short story writer and poet who taught at SU in the 1980s, the Raymond Carver Reading Series is a vital part of Syracuse’s literary life. The series is presented by the creative writing program, generally recognized as one of the finest in the country.

Media Contact

Rob Enslin