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Author Series enriches campus life

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Author Series enriches campus life

Novelist Ron Carlson is the first of many authors to visit JSC this fall.

Novelist Ron Carlson is the first of many authors to visit JSC this fall.

Arizona State University

Novelist Ron Carlson is the first of many authors to visit JSC this fall.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Novelist Ron Carlson is the first of many authors to visit JSC this fall.

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The Fall Author Series, which puts the JSC community in direct contact with literary artists, began on Sept. 10 with novelist Ron Carlson and will continue through the beginning of November with Larry Smith, Lou Beach, and Edward Hirsch in either the Dibden Center for the Arts or Stearns Performance Space.

According to Assistant Professor of Writing and Literature Jacob White, all four writers were chosen because they each have something distinctive to offer the campus community. “Lou Beach and Larry Smith are both part of the Common Book programming, which explores the dynamic ways in which social media can shape and discover new narratives of self,” he said. “We chose Ron Carlson because he is a world-renowned craftsman of the short story and a charismatic, engaging speaker with a reputation as one of the very best creative writing teachers out there.”

Hirsch has ties to Assistant Professor of Writing and Literature Liz Powell, who studied with him when she was a young poet. “He is an important contemporary voice in poetry, as well as a much loved mentor and teacher to many poets,” she said. Powell said she was excited that her students would be able to meet him and get the opportunity to read and listen to Hirsch’s work.

The first author in the fall series, Ron Carlson, is director of the graduate program  in fiction at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of more than 10 works of fiction. He was born in Logan, Utah, and began writing as a teen. He later earned his master’s degree in English at the University of Utah, and for the past 30 years, has been joking about writing one poem a year for a collective volume. Carlson has since collected all of these works and entitled them, “Room Service: Poems, Meditations, Outcries, and Remarks,” which is now available to readers. This book differs from the other books that he has written, because it is his debut as a poet.

Larry Smith, the second author in the series, appeared in Dibden Sept. 13, where he presented a Six-Word Memoir workshop. He is the co-founder of SMITH magazine and former editor of Men’s Journal, executive editor of Yahoo! Internet Life, and senior editor at ESPN The Magazine.

Lou Beach, who will be in Dibden Center for the Arts on Oct. 3 at 8 p.m., is a college dropout and self-taught artist who took one art class in high school. Beach has primarily been known for his work as a visual artist but has recently gained literary prominence as the writer of a collection of short stories aptly named “420 Characters,” which was this year’s common book choice. The book is a compilation of fictional Facebook updates. His writing career began when he realized that every status update on Facebook was a bore, including his own, so he took the then-420-character limit as a challenge to write a short story every day, rather than simply to write what he had for dinner or what he was doing every day. Beach’s stories soon caught on, and he was able to collect them into a book along with 10 original collages, some of which are currently on display in Dibden.

The Fall Author Series will conclude with poet Edward Hirsch on Nov. 5. Hirsch, who attended both Grinnell College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Ph.D. in folklore, is a renowned poet and the author ofthe national bestseller “How to Read a Poem” and “Fall in Love with Poetry,” as well as many books of poetic prose.He has been a professor of English at Wayne State University and the University of Houston. Hirsch is now the president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

White notes that fall and spring author series benefit the JSC community in ways beyond author readings and classroom visits. “The benefits of these authors’ visits reach far beyond the creative writing classroom,” White said. “Nearly all of the visiting authors are interviewed by student editors at Basement Medicine and JSC’s student-edited literary journal, Gihon River Review. And both Gihon River Review and the faculty-edited journal Green Mountains Review frequently gain the opportunity to publish original work by these often highly-sought-after authors.This is a nearly unheard-of honor for an undergraduate student-edited journal.”

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Kayla Friedrich, Editor in Chief

Kayla served as a general assignment reporter and photographer for the spring 2013 semester.  She returned for the Fall 2013 and spring 2014 semesters...

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Author Series enriches campus life