Eco-poet to headline wide-ranging Living Writers Series at SUNY Oswego


August 13, 2018

Award-winning poet Rebecca Dunham -- author of "Cold Pastoral: Poems," a collection that elegizes manmade disasters from the Deepwater Horizon oil platform to the Flint, Michigan, water crisis -- will join this fall's SUNY Oswego Living Writers Series, a roster that includes a playwright, nonfiction writer, novelist, short story writer and other published authors.

"Rebecca Dunham's recent book seems to intersect well with our Grand Challenge," said Laura Donnelly of the college's English and creative writing department, who organizes the speaker lineup for a course she teaches titled "Living Writers Series."

This fall, SUNY Oswego formally kicks off Grand Challenges: Fresh Water for All, a two-year campuswide effort designed to contribute in theory and in action to finding solutions to one of the grand global challenge.

Dunham, who will appear Nov. 26 for Living Writers, uses interviews, excerpts of government documents and other sources to achieve what a Los Angeles Book Review calls the "docupoetics of witness." A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor, she won the Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry for "Armonica" and the T.S. Elliott Prize "The Miniature Room," two earlier collections of poems.

The 2018 Living Writers Series presentations each will take place from 3 to 4:20 p.m., on selected Mondays or Wednesdays in Marano Campus Center auditorium. The rest of the lineup includes:

Sept. 12: Drew Kahn and the Anne Frank Project -- theatre/playwright/storytelling as healing -- in collaboration with the college Counseling Services Wellness Week. Kahn, a professor of theater at Buffalo State, uses storytelling and performance for social justice.

Oct. 8: Ryan Van Meter, a nonfiction writer and author of the essay collection "If You Knew Then What I Know Now." An associate professor at University of San Francisco, Van Meter's work has also been selected for such anthologies as "The Best American Essays."

Oct. 24: Jamaal May, a poet and indie publisher whose first poetry book, "Hum," won the Beatrice Hawley Award, the ALA Notable Book Award, and was a finalist for the NAACP Image award. His second collection is "The Big Book of Exit Strategies."

Oct. 29: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, a recent Syracuse University graduate whose book "Friday Black" comes out in October with "some serious buzz," according to Donnelly. Bestselling author George Saunders called this collection of stories "an excitement and a wonder: crazed, urgent and funny." Writer and professor Roxane Gay added, "The writing in this outstanding collection will make you hurt and demand your hope."

Nov. 7: Robert McGill, a novelist, literary critic, director of creative writing at University of Toronto and former Rhodes Scholar who wrote novels "The Mysteries" and "Once We Had a Country," as well as two nonfiction books: "War Is Here," which examines the Vietnam War’s influence on Canadian literature, and "The Treacherous Imagination," which considers the ethics of authors writing fiction based on their loved ones' lives.

Nov. 14: Brad Korbesmeyer, a playwright and SUNY Oswego professor of English and creative writing who has organized the Living Writers Series in the past. Students will do a reading of his work on Monday, Nov. 12, preparatory to his presentation.

Dec. 3: Christina Strain, a screenwriter and comic book artist who works on SyFy's "The Magicians" and on Marvel's "Generation X." Earlier, she worked as a Marvel Comics colorist, helping launch "The Runaways."

'Serious buzz' -- SUNY Oswego's 2018 Living Writers Series will welcome eight authors from a variety of genres, including Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, a recent Syracuse University graduate whose book "Friday Black" comes out in October to advance plaudits.