UB Literary Series to Open With Poetry/Jazz Performance

By Mara McGinnis

Release Date: August 10, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- "Wednesdays at 4 PLUS," the bi-annual literary series sponsored by the Poetics Program in the University at Buffalo Department of English, will feature a number of renowned authors, poets and playwrights in its Fall 1998 program.

The series will open on Sept. 5 with a collaborative poetry-and-jazz performance featuring musicians Steve Swallow, David Torn and Chris Massey, hosted by Robert Creeley, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB English department and Samuel P. Capen Chair of Poetry and the Humanities.

The series also will include an extensive, five-part French Poetry Festival featuring readings from Renée Riese Hubert and French authors Judd Hubert, Michael Deguy, Christian Prigent, Pierre Ouellet and Marcelin Pleynet.

Other highlights will include readings from contemporary American authors Eileen Myles, Robert Kelly, Fred D'Aguiar and Lisel Mueller, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

"Wednesdays at 4 Plus" also is sponsored by the James H. McNulty Chair (Dennis Tedlock), the Samuel P. Capen Chair of Poetry and the Humanities (Creeley) and the David Gray Chair of Poetry and Letters (Charles Bernstein), all in the UB Department of English; the Melodia E. Jones Chair in French (Raymond Federman) in the UB Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and UB Poetry and Rare Books Collection Curator Robert Bertholf.

All events will be free and open to the public.

The fall program is dedicated to the memory of Albert S. Cook, who served as chair of the UB English department from 1963-66. Cook hired 25 literary luminaries -- among them Creeley -- who helped bring the English department into national prominence. He died on July 7.

The series is produced with the cooperation of the UB Center for the Arts, the Department of Media Study and Talking Leaves bookstore. It is made possible, in part, by Poets & Writers, Inc., through a major grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and a grant from the Literature Program of the New York State Council on the Arts. Call (716) 645-3810 for more information.

All venues are on the UB North (Amherst) Campus, unless otherwise indicated.

• Saturday, Sept. 5 • 8 p.m. • Hallwalls, 2495 Main St., Buffalo

The musical performance will feature bass great Steve Swallow, "Avant Guitar's King Snake" David Torn and Buffalo's own "different drummer" Chris Massey in a first-time trio performance to be hosted by Robert Creeley, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB Department of English and Samuel P. Capen Chair of Poetry and the Humanities.

Swallow recorded an album of Creeley's poems in the early 1980s on ECM: "Home." He is a classic legendary bassist, having collaborated with such jazz greats as Gary Burton, Chick Corea and Carla Bley.

According to Torn's Web site, his sonic pioneering has used a rock sound without the usual constraints of that or any other form. He twice has been named "Best Experimental Guitarist" in Guitar Player magazine's national readers' poll.

From 1973-79, Torn was guitarist and co-vocalist with the infamous East Coast art-rockers, the Zobo Funn Bank. Later, he joined the Everyman Band, formerly Lou Reed's recording/touring outfit, on an international tour with jazz/world music iconoclast Don Cherry.

Massey recently has been working and recording in Europe. He also has recorded settings of Creeley's work that have not yet been released.

• Wednesday, Sept. 16 • 4 p.m. • Center for the Arts Screening Room

• Thursday, Sept. 17 • 3:30 p.m. • 120 Clemens Hall

A poet, novelist and playwright, D'Aguiar has published several books, including "The Longest Memory," which won the Whitbread Award from the Booksellers Association of Great Britain and Ireland, and the David Higham First Novel Award from the Book Trust in London. "Mama Dot" and "Airy Hall," two of his poetry collections, won the Guyana Prize for Poetry from the Guyanese government in 1989.

D'Aguiar says being born in London, growing up in Guyana and then returning to England for his teen and adult years influences his poetry and prose.

"Add to that a U.S. experience and a black perspective," says D'Aguiar. "For me, imaginative writing is about historical recovery and finding forms to shape memory. Discovery is part of the equation, too. The oxygen for all this is love and loss."

He teaches at the University of Miami, where he directs the master of fine arts program.

• Friday, Sept. 18 • 11 a.m., poetry readings • 2 p.m., talks • 420 Capen

A prolific poet, short-story writer, essayist, novelist and editor who has published more than 50 books of poetry and fiction, Kelly, who calls himself an "image poet," is known for an experimental style that employs different modes of expression.

He has been credited with co-inventing the term "deep image," and inventing a poetic form of his own -- the "lune." Kelly says lunes are small poems that spend half their lives in darkness and half in light.

Kelly teaches at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Lansing's lifework in poetry recently was collected in a volume called "Heavenly Tree/ Soluble Forest." On the themes and subjects of his poetry, Lansing commented, "I favor love, the wedding of the natural and supernatural, and visible things." He lives in Gloucester, Mass., and has worked as editor of the poetry magazine SET.

• Tuesday, Sept. 22 • 3:30 p.m. • 540 Clemens Hall

• Wednesday, Sept. 23 • 4 p.m. • Center for the Arts Screening Room

Frederich is the author of many articles and books of anthropology, criticism, linguistics and poetry. His latest work is "Music in Russian Poetry."

He teaches at the University of Chicago.

• Thursday, Sept. 24 • 12:30 p.m. • 438 Clemens Hall

• Friday, Sept. 25 • 8 p.m. • Cornershop Gallery, 82 Lafayette St., Buffalo

Ward is the author of "Statutes of Liberty: The New York School of Poets" and co-editor of "Re: Joyce. Text. Culture. Politics." He has two new poetry books: "Rilke's Elegies, Barbarously Recast" and "Translations from the Finnish."

He is the head of the English Department at the University of Dundee, Scotland.

• Tuesday, Oct. 6 • 3:30 p.m. • 540 Clemens Hall

• Wednesday, Oct. 7 • 4 p.m. • Center for the Arts Screening Room

Farnell is a modern dancer, as well as a linguistic anthropologist. Her work, which emphasizes the boundaries of language in building a semiotics of the moving person, includes "Do You See What I Mean: Plains Indian Sign Talk and the Embodiment of Action" and a CD-ROM, "WIYUTA: Assiniboine Storytelling with Signs." She teaches at the University of Illinois-Urbana.

• Friday, Oct. 9 • 8 p.m. • Cornershop Gallery, 82 Lafayette St., Buffalo

Author of "Human Rights," Lease is the poetry editor of The Boston Review. He teaches poetry writing and composition at Tufts University.

• Wednesday, Oct. 14 • 4 p.m. • Center for the Arts Screening Room

Deguy is one of France's most celebrated poets. Editor-in-chief of Pos & Sie, he also directs the collection "L'Exteme contemporain" at Editions Berlin and is on the editorial boards of Les Temps modernes, Critique and Temps de la reflexion.

A selection of his poems, "Given Giving" (University of California Press 1984), has been translated by Clayton Eshleman.

Deguy is professeur des universites at the University of Paris VIII. He will be introduced by Wilson Baldridge.

• Thursday, Oct. 15 • 12:30 p.m. • 438 Clemens Hall

Damon, a member of the National Writers Union, is the author of "The Dark End of the Street: Margins in American Vanguard Poetry." She teaches literature at the University of Minnesota.

• Wednesday, Oct. 21 • 4 p.m. • Center for the Arts Screening Room

• Thursday, Oct. 22 • 12:30 p.m. • 438 Clemens Hall

Grenier's books include "Phantom Anthems," "A Day at the Beach," "Sentences" and "What I Believe: transpiration/transpiring." He edited the 1976 "Selected Poems" by Robert Creeley, as well as several collections of Larry Eigner's work. He lives in Bolinas, Calif.

• Wednesday, Oct. 28 • 4 p.m. • Center for the Arts Screening Room

• Thursday, Oct. 29 • 10 a.m. • 438 Clemens Hall

Prigent, founder of the radical French avant-garde magazine TXT, belonged to the French literary avant-garde movement of the 1960s and '70s, and now is a leading practitioner of experimental poetry. Some of his works include "Ecrit au couteau (Written with a Knife)" and "Commencement (Beginning)."

An important aspect of Prigent's poetic activity is his orientation toward poetry as an oral, sonorous, rhythmic performance, an idea often articulated in his public appearances.

Ouellet is a poet, novelist, critic and author of "Chutes: la litterature et ses fins (L'Hexagone)." He teaches at the University of Quebec at Montreal.

• Wednesday, Nov. 4 • 4 p.m. • Center for the Arts Screening Room

Kim's books include "Under Flag," "The Bounty," and her most recent work, "Dura." Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Conjunctions, Sulfur, Avec and Hambone.

Kim is the recipient of two Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative North American Poetry from Sun & Moon Press.

She is an associate professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University.

• Friday, Nov. 6 • 8 p.m. • 250 Baird Hall

Mueller won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1997 for her latest collection, "Alive Together: New and Selected Poems." According to critic John Taylor, "Mueller's poetry responds to historical tragedy, to our own "heartless age," to familial grief, to child-raising, to love for her husband, and, increasingly, to death. . .it is infused with intimacy, authenticity and clarity."

Mueller, who fled from Nazi Germany with her family at the age of 15, also is a translator from the German and has translated a verse play, a contemporary novel and three volumes of prose and poetry by writer Marie Luise Kaschnitz.

Other books by Mueller include "The Need to Hold Still," which received the National Book Award; "The Private Life," which was a Lamont Poetry Selection, and "Waving from Shore," which received the Carl Sandburg Award.

• Monday, Nov. 9 • 4 p.m. • 438 Clemens Hall

Myles is a poet, short-story writer, playwright and reviewer who writes from the viewpoint of woman, poet and lesbian. Her most recent book is "School of Fish." Other books include "Chelsea Girls," "Bread and Water," and "Not Me." Her talk is titled "Keeping Score."

Roy's books of prose and fiction include "Cold Heaven," "Rosy Medallions," and her most recent work, "Swarm." The title of her talk is "My Utopia."

• Wednesday, Nov. 11 • noon • 930 Clemens Hall

Hubert is a native of Lille, France. His books include "Corneille's Performative Metaphors, Metatheater," "The Examples of Shakespeare" and "Moliere and the Comedy of Intellect." He is a professor emeritus at the University of California, Irvine.

• Wednesday, Nov. 11 • 4 p.m. • Center for the Arts Screening Room

Pleynet has been an editor of two of the most important magazines in France, Tel Quel and L'Infini. A literary critic, art historian and novelist, Pleynet is renowned as author of "Les Trois Livres" and "La Methode."

• Thursday, Nov. 12 • 12:30 p.m. • 438 Clemens Hall

Hubert's books include "Surrealism and the Book," "Magnifying Mirrors: Surrealism and Partnership" and, with Judd Hubert, "The Cutting Edge of Reading: The Artist's Books."

She is a professor emerita of French and comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine.