Thursday, October 2, 2014

Taking a Reading: Bensko, Wicker, and Griswold

Posted By on Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 3:47 PM

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The first half of October is shaping up to be a good time for readings from university-affiliated writers.

First up: On Friday, October 3rd, John Bensko — winner of the Yale Younger Poets Award in 1981, a Fulbright professor at the University of Alicante in Spain, and (closer to home) creative writing teacher at the University of Memphis — will be reading from his fourth poetry collection, Visitations (University of Tampa Press). The reading begins at Burke’s Book Store at 6 p.m., but Bensko will be on hand to meet his readers and sign his book beginning at 5 p.m. Discover for yourself what native Memphian and nationally recognized poet Richard Tillinghast meant when he said of Visitations: “I rejoice that poetry this good is still being written.”

“Mostly what I do is exercise my lungs in praise of everything”: That’s Marcus Wicker in his poem “The CEO of Happiness Speaks” from his debut collection Maybe the Saddest Thing (Harper Perennial), winner of the 2011 National Poetry Series Prize.

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Wicker, assistant professor of English at the University of Indiana and poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review, will be exercising those lungs — with the ring of Whitman and in praise of subjects such as Pam Grier and RuPaul? — when he reads from his work at Rhodes College on Tuesday, October 7th, at 7 p.m. The event is inside Blount Auditorium in Buckman Hall on the Rhodes campus.

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And in mid-October, on the campus of the University of Memphis, the River City Writers Series will be welcoming novelist and nonfiction writer John Griswold, who teaches in the MFA program at McNeese State University in Louisiana and edits The McNeese Review. You may know Griswold by another name, however: Oronte Churm.

But no mistaking Griswold's latest collection of essays, Pirates You Don’t Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life (University of Georgia Press). Look for Griswold to be dipping into that collection when he reads inside the Bluff Room in the U of M’s University Center on Wednesday, October 15th, at 8 p.m. As with all River City Writers authors, an interview with Griswold will take place in the U of M’s Patterson Hall the following day at 10:30 a.m. •

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