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Writers@Grinnell: Edward Hirsch

Celebrated poet Edward Hirsch ’72 will join Professor of English Ralph Savarese in a conversation about poetry and parenting at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in the Faulconer Gallery.

 “‘If the Music is Too Loud You’re Too Old:’ A Conversation with Edward Hirsch ’72 about Poetry, Parenting, Disability, and Grief” will use Hirsch’s most recent publication, “Gabriel,” to open discussion. “Gabriel” is a book-length elegy for Hirsch’s late son. This free public event, which is part of the Writers@Grinnell series, will be streamed live.

Hirsch also will lead an informal roundtable discussion about “Reading as Relationship” at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, in the Joe Rosenfield ‘25 Center Room 209. This event also is open to the public at no charge.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

About the Participants

Edward Hirsch

President of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation since 2003, Hirsch has been honored with numerous awards including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, a Pablo Neruda Presidential Medal of Honor, the Prix de Rome and an Academy of Arts and Letters Award. He was also elected chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2008.

Hirsch is the author of nine collections of poetry, including a Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award winner, a Lavan Younger Poets Award winner and a National Book Critics Award winner. He has also published five books of prose, including the national bestseller “How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry.”

Ralph Savarese

Savarese, who co-directs the Writers @Grinnell series, is the author of Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption and co-editor of Papa PhD: Essays on Fatherhood by Men in the Academy.

About Writers @Grinnell

Writers@Grinnell logoWriters@Grinnell brings to campus authors of all kinds: poets, novelists, memoirists, essayists, radio essayists, columnists, graphic memoirists, playwrights, and short story writers.

Believing language to be a dynamic and communal medium, we give its crafted versions the attention they deserve, and we take seriously the importance of diverse perspectives. Through the generous support of an anonymous donor, the program hosts an annual distinguished author reading. Such authors have included Alison Bechdel, Tracy K. Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Edward P. Jones, Adrienne Rich, Marilynne Robinson, and W.S. Merwin. In addition to readings and roundtables, the program funds two six-week short courses taught by writers from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, and it helps students to find internships in writing-related professions.

Reading by Austrian writer, Teresa Präauer

Teresa Praauer photo

Teresa Präauer

The Department of German welcomes Austrian fiction writer, essayist, and visual artist, Teresa Präauer, to campus for a reading on Wednesday, October 7th at 7:30p.m. in the Burling Library Lounge.

Teresa Präauer is the author of the novels Johnny und Jean (2014) and Für den Herrscher aus Übersee [For the Emperor from Overseas], which received the Aspekte prize for best German-language prose debut of 2012, as well as of a book of poetry postcards entitled [Pigeons’ Letters] (2009). In 2015 she received a Droste and a Hölderlin promotion award, and was shortlisted for the Leipzig Book Fair Prize. She regularly publishes on the subjects of poetry, theatre, pop culture and fine arts.

Otello, Live in HD

This fall Grinnell is streaming four of the Metropolitan Opera's productions live and in high-definition as the Met celebrates its 10th anniversary of Live-in-HD movie theater transmissions.

The screening of Giuseppe Verdi's Otello starts at noon, Saturday, Oct. 17, in the Harris Center Cinema, with an opera talk at 11:30 a.m.

In this adoption of Shakespeare's Othello, the Met has updated the opera's setting to the late 19th century, where the tragedy will unfold in a shape-shifting glass palace. Directed by Bartlett Sher and conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Otello features tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko as Otello and new soprano actress Sonya Yoncheva as his innocent wife and victim, Desdemona. Presenting the opera talk will be Ellen Mease, associate professor of European dramatic literature, criticism, theory and theatre history.

The season continues with screenings featuring opera talks by faculty members:

  • Richard Wagner’s "Tannhäuser" on Saturday, Oct. 31, with an opera talk by Kelly Maynard, assistant professor and department chair of European Studies
  • Alban Berg's "Lulu" on Saturday, Nov. 21, with an opera talk by Eugene Gaub, associate professor of music theory and music history

Refreshments will be available for purchase in the lobby of the cinema before each opera.

Tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore, and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children and Met Opera members.

The Office of the President has generously funded tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff, and students, and these tickets are available for free at all locations. Family members not employed by the College are required to purchase tickets.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

Churchill: The Politician as Playwright

Jonathan Rose will deliver a Scholars' Convocation on "Churchill: The Politician as Playwright" at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

Although he was known chiefly as a politician and wartime leader, Churchill was also a best-selling author, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953. In Rose's latest book, The Literary Churchill: Writer, Reader, Actor, he introduces readers to "a Winston Churchill we have not known before." The Washington Post's review of the book states "In this sometimes speculative but immensely enjoyable biography, Jonathan Rose shows that Churchill’s authorial and political careers were entwined and inseparable."

Rose is William R. Kenan Professor of History at Drew University.

He was the founding president of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, and he is coeditor of that organization’s journal, Book History.  His book The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (2nd ed., 2010) won the Longman-History Today Historical Book of the Year Prize, the American Philosophical Society Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History, the British Council Prize of the North American Conference on British Studies, the SHARP Book History Prize, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities Book Prize. 

His other publications include The Edwardian Temperament, The Holocaust and the Book: Destruction and Preservation, and A Companion to the History of the Book (with Simon Eliot). 

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

 

Sports et divertissements

First published in 1923, Sports et divertissements is an album featuring 20 illustrations by Charles Martin, a prominent contemporary French fashion illustrator, alongside 20 short scores for piano written by famed composer Erik Satie. The project was commissioned by publishing magnate Lucian Vogel in 1914 and was intended to represent the sports and leisure activities that were fashionable at the time. Martin's illustrations transport viewers into a world of fashion and luxury rendered in the strong geometric shapes and bold colors that are emblematic of Art Deco. Satie's lighthearted compositions and the humorous, handwritten texts inscribed throughout the scores further imbue the project with the feeling of play. Sports et divertissements is a strong example of the early 20th century Avante Garde's interest in creating works of art that synthesized music, language, and visual art.

This exceptional work of art also has a remarkably strange publication history. Although the work was commissioned in 1914, the outbreak of WWI delayed publication. Because the album would have seemed inappropriately frivolous in light of the war, Vogel put the project on hold. By the 1920s, the mood in Paris had lifted and the Jazz Age brought an atmosphere of luxury and pleasure. In the ten years since the project was commissioned, fashion had changed so drastically that Martin's original drawings seemed dated. To ensure that the album remain au current, in 1922 Vogel commissioned Martin to create 20 new drawings. At long last, publication began in 1923, but the strangeness doesn't end there.

Nine hundred copies of Sports et divertissements were printed, but three different versions were created.

The first version of the album is extremely rare — only 10 copies were printed. This version features the 20 musical scores alongside both the 1922 illustrations and the original drawings from 1914.

The second version, issued in an edition of 215, features the musical scores alongside all of the 1922 illustrations. This is the version that we have in the Burling Library Special Collections.

The third version, comprising the remaining 675 copies, contains the entire score, but each copy only features one of Martin's illustrations.

This strange publication history has shaped how the album has been received. The public is most familiar with the third version; however, that is also the most diminished version because Martin’s contribution to the project is almost completely absent. Today, Erik Satie is often regarded as the primary artistic genius behind the project. This misunderstanding demonstrates that in order to fully understand a creative work, it is essential to research it as an object by delving into the history of its publication.

Sports et divertissements is currently part of our Visual Narratives exhibit. We encourage you to visit the Special Collections and Archives to examine this version of the album that the public rarely gets to see. We are open to the public 1:30-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment. You can also read an extended analysis of the album’s publication history in “Satie and Martin’s Sports et divertissements: Towards a (re)Object-ive  Historiography” published by The Teh Drinking Musicologist blog.

 

Maria Tapias Book Discussion

Embodied Protests: Emotions and Women's Health in Bolivia, Maria Tapias (book cover)Grinnell’s Department of Anthropology and the Office of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College are delighted to celebrate the publication of Maria Tapias’ Embodied Protests: Emotions and Women’s Health in Bolivia (University of Illinois Press).

Please join us on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, for a dessert reception at 7 p.m., and reading and panel discussion at 7:30 p.m.  

Panelists include: Brigittine French, Carolyn Lewis, and Liz Queathem.

This event will be held in the Burling Library.

Maria Tapias earned her doctorate in anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and has been teaching at Grinnell since 2001. Her research interests include women's and infants' health, the anthropology of emotions, the impacts of neoliberalism on health, international migration, transnationalism, and Latin American studies.

She has been conducting fieldwork in Bolivia since 1996 and among Bolivians in Spain since 2006. Her research has been published in journals such as Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Body and Society, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Il Trovatore, Live in HD

This fall Grinnell will stream four of the Metropolitan Opera's productions live and in high-definition as the Met celebrates its 10th anniversary of Live-in-HD movie theater transmissions.

The screening will start at noon in the Harris Center Cinema.

The season opens with Giuseppe Verdi's "Il Trovatore" on Saturday, Oct. 3.

A tragedy, Il Trovatore is set in Spain during the Peninsular War (1808-14) between Spain and Napoleon's forces. The Met's production features soprano Anna Netrebko as the heroine Leonora, tenor Yonghoon Lee as the ill-fated Manric, and mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick as the mysterious gypsy. Sir David McVicar directs and Marco Armiliato conducts.

The season continues with screenings featuring pre-opera talks by faculty members:

  • Guiseppe Verdi's Otello on Saturday, Oct. 17, with a pre-opera talk by Ellen Mease, associate professor of European dramatic literature, criticism, theory and theatre history.
  • Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser on Saturday, Oct. 31, with a pre-opera talk by Kelly Maynard, assistant professor and department chair of European Studies
  • Alban Berg's Lulu on Saturday, Nov. 21, with a pre-opera talk by Eugene Gaub, associate professor of music theory and music history

Refreshments will be available for purchase in the lobby of the cinema before each opera.

Tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore, and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children and Met Opera members.

The Office of the President has generously funded tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff, and students, and these tickets are available for free at all locations. Family members not employed by the College are required to purchase tickets.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations.

Observing the Stars and Planets

If you’re interested in astronomy, “Grinnell is one of the best places you can go,” says Bob Cadmus, professor of physics. Grinnell — without offering a major in astronomy — has graduated about one student per year who goes on to earn a Ph.D. in astronomy.

Cadmus attributes that strong record to students’ focus on physics and the liberal arts as well as their independent work in astronomy.

Some of that work occurs in the Grant O. Gale Observatory, which sits on the north edge of campus, within easy walking distance of residence halls. Cadmus says the proximity to campus was intentional, to make it more accessible to students. Another plus — since the town of Grinnell is small, there’s little light pollution.

The Search for Exoplanets

Jack Muskopf ’16 and Andrew Baldrige ’17, both physics majors, are working in the observatory this summer on Mentored Advanced Projects. Their faculty mentor, Eliza Kempton, assistant professor of physics, studies exoplanets. More than 1,000 exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — have been discovered since 1995.

“We can look at transiting exoplanets fairly easily with our telescope,” Kempton says. The observatory has a 24-inch Cassegrain telescope. “We do real research with this thing.”

Muskopf and Baldrige have been testing a new camera, which will be installed on the telescope soon. Then they’ll be pulling all-nighters in the observatory, processing digital images of exoplanets that are passing in front of their own stars, up to 100 million light-years away.

Muskopf says he’s excited to work in the observatory and “get really high quality photos of stars and have some interesting, useful data.”

Baldrige says, “Every once in a while I sit back and think that I am looking at numbers on a screen right now, but these numbers represent that 100 million light-years away, I know that there’s a star that has a planet orbiting around it.”

Kempton hopes to start training students to use the telescope and help with the data processing. She says it’s an ideal place to get students involved, and they don’t need to be physics majors.

Attracting the Masses

All students are welcome to the observatory during open house events held throughout the year. Baldrige visited it during New Student Orientation his first year. “I looked at a galaxy and it was really clear in the telescope. It was cool because it was something you could never see with a hobbyist’s telescope,” he says.

Cadmus offers open house events to everyone from pre-school children to adults in the community, from current students to alumni. Every summer he offers a workshop for middle-school children and especially tries to interest girls in astronomy.

Jack Muskopf ’16 is from Millstadt, Ill.; Andrew Baldrige ’17 is from Ames, Iowa.

Writers@Grinnell: Jami Attenberg

Jami AttenbergJami Attenberg, the next author in Writers@Grinnell will be on campus for two events on Tuesday, Sept. 22:

  • Reading at 8 p.m. in Rosenfield Center, Room 101
  • Roundtable at 4:15 p.m. in Rosenfield Center, Room 209

Attenberg has written about sex, technology, design, books, television, and urban life for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, Print, The Hairpin, Vogue, New York, Elle, Real Simple, The Rumpus, and others. She has contributed to numerous anthologies and also wrote Wicked: The Musical: A Pop-up Compendium.

Attenberg believes in the power and importance of independent publishing and self-publication, whether online or in print. She has been published by a number of zines, and her chapbook, Deli Life, was published by Austin upstart So New Media in 2003. She also published a zine series, Instant Love. Her blog, whatever-whenever.net, has been in existence in various forms since 1998.

Her debut collection of stories, Instant Love, was published by Crown/Shaye Areheart Books in 2006. She is also the author of two novels, The Kept Man  and The Melting Season, both published by Riverhead Books. Her third novel, The Middlesteins, was published in October 2012 by Grand Central Publishing. It appeared on The New York Times bestseller list, and was published in England, Taiwan, Russia, Italy, France, Turkey, The Netherlands, Germany, and Israel in 2013. It was also a finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and the St. Francis College Literary Prize. A fifth book, Saint Mazie, was published in 2015 in the U.S., the UK, Italy, France and Germany. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she fights crime in her spare time.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

Sameness and Difference

Paul Vanouse at microscope

 As 21st century racism unfolds and recedes under scientific scrutiny of human sameness and differences, the American studies concentration in collaboration with the art & art history and biology departments, have invited Bio-Artist Prof Paul Vanouse. 
 
 Over the last decade, Vanouse's work has been specifically concerned with forcing the arcane codes of scientific  communication into a broader cultural language. 
 
 In "The Relative Velocity Inscription Device" (2002), he literally races DNA from his Jamaican-American family members, in a DNA sequencing gel, an installation/scientific experiment that explores the relationship between early 20th Century Eugenics and late 20th Century Human Genomics. The double entendre of race highlights the obsession with “genetic fitness” within these historical endeavors. Similarly, his recent projects, “Latent Figure Protocol”, “Ocular Revision” and “Suspect Inversion Center” use molecular biology techniques to challenge “genome-hype” and to confront issues surrounding DNA fingerprinting.  
 
Vanouse will present "Sameness and Difference," at 4 p.m. Thursday, September 17, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. The talk is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available.