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Revisit the 2011 Lit Fest!

By Daniella Snyder

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

Since the English department was not able to complete this year’s spring literary festival, they’re sharing videos of readings from previous festivals. This week, they are sharing a 2011 reading by writer Monique Truong.  Monique Truong was born in Saigon and currently lives in New York City.

photo of Monique Truong and "The Sweetest Fruits"

Her second novel, Bitter in the Mouth, was recently released by Random House and focuses on Linda Hammerick, a young woman with a unique secret sense–she can “taste” words, which have the power to disrupt, dismay, or delight. Her first novel, The Book of Salt, was a New York Times Notable Book. It won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the 2003 Bard Fiction Prize, the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, and the 7th Annual Asian American Literary Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and Britain’s Guardian First Book Award.

She is the recipient of the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship, Princeton University’s Hodder Fellowship, and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship. Her 2019 novel, The Sweetest Fruits, is her third and most recent novel.


Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the English department.

 

 

 

 


 


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‘Cat in the Stack: Brenda Shaughnessy

By Daniella Snyder

Cat in the Stacks logo or header

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Memorial Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

Brenda Shaughnessy Headshot

Source: PoetryFoundation.org

This week, Falvey would have hosted poet Brenda Shaughnessy for a public reading in Speakers’ Corner as part of the English Department’s annual Literary Festival. While we cannot be there in person to hear Shaughnessy read, we can still appreciate her work and learn more about her. This week, my stack is filled with her poetry.

Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of five poetry collections, including The Octopus Museum (2019, Knopf); So Much Synth (2016, Copper Canyon Press); Our Andromeda (2012), which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, The International Griffin Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award. 

Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Harpers, The New York Times, The New Yorker, O Magazine, Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere.

Recent collaborative projects include writing a libretto for a Mass commissioned by Trinity Church Wall Street for composer Paola Prestini and a poem-essay for the exhibition catalog for Toba Khedoori’s solo retrospective show at LACMA. 

A 2013 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Shaughnessy is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark. She lives in Verona, New Jersey, with her family, according to her website.

Shaughnessy’s work is known for its ability to twin opposites: her poems are both playful and erotic, lyrical and funny, formal and strange. Reviewing Human Dark with Sugar, poet Cate Peebles noted that “Shaughnessy draws attention to the contradiction of being made up of so many parts while appearing to be one single body.”

In the New Yorker, Hilton Als said of her book, Our Andromeda: “it further establishes Shaughnessy’s particular genius, which is utterly poetic, but essayistic in scope, encompassing ideas about astronomy, illness, bodies, the family, ‘normalcy,’ home.”

Hilton Als’ description of Our Andromeda, and the mention of illness, bodies, the family, normalcy, and home, sounds like Shaughnessy’s poetry may help us work through our current moment.

Want to read Our Andromeda, but cannot access the collection online? Watch this 2013 video from the Chicago Humanities Festival, in which Shaughnessy reads a fair amount of her poetry from the collection.

If you want to stay connected with Brenda Shaughnessy, I recommend following her on Twitter (@brendashaughnes). Like many other authors, artists, and musicians, she shared that she will be posting about the books getting her through these uncertain times:

A Tweet by Brenda Shaughnessy, described in paragraph above. "I'm going to post about the books getting me through. #1: How is Jenny Offill such a genius? First page of Weather and I can barely turn to the second because it is so perfect and luminous and luscious I don't want it to be over, ever."

Here’s the page she’s referencing:

The first page of Weather by Jenny Offill.

While it is certainly disappointing that we will not be able to see Shaughnessy in person, I hope this brief overview offers a chance to get to know one of our Lit Fest authors a little better.

 


Daniella Snyder Headshot

Daniella Snyder is a graduate assistant in the Communication & Marketing department at Falvey Memorial Library, and a graduate student in the English department. This week, she’s reading Call Me By Your Name, a book that was recommended to her by the VU Book Club (@vubookclub).

 


 


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Remote Discoveries: Catching up on Lit Fest

Hey, Wildcats,

In recent weeks most of us have revisited the uncomfortable FOMO (the fear of missing out), of seeing the taken-for-granted suddenly become absent, realizing the preciousness of “the normal.”

In no way does this downplay the much greater worries and pains that surround this crisis – and these are very real things that will affect millions of human beings in ways we would hope not to imagine. Yet, the small losses, notably those connections between people in lively, real, and present conversations leave a palpable absence in our lives.


Catching up on a Canceled Lit Fest Event

When I looked through library events that had to be canceled this semester, I am reminded that there were numerous small things that we missed out on. On March 24, Bryan Washington’s Literary Festival book reading and discussion on his new novel, Memorial, would have taken place in Speakers’ Corner. Although I was unfamiliar with Washington’s work prior to writing this blog post, a deeper dive through his essays available online as well as his previous book talks, showed me what we are all missing out on.

For this week’s Remote Discoveries blog, I will provide some links to Bryan Washington’s work and talks. To preface these links, Washington’s work does contain explicit content and he does not shy away from the expletive-prone speech of everyday conversation, nor does he shy away from topics that make some uncomfortable.

That being said, I believe that many people would thoroughly enjoy Washington’s work, regardless of whether it was encountered on-campus or discovered remotely.


Some of Bryan Washington’s Work

One of Washington’s first essays, View From the Football Field; or, What Happens When the Game is Over, presents a poignant description of playing football, and all the (un)importance it has on communities, friendships, family, and race. Writing on his personal experience playing football in a Texas suburb, Washington shows how the game harbored various meanings, and what it stood to mean for people in different times of their lives.

In our own library stacks, we have Washington’s first book, Lot, a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2019. The book is a coming of age story for a boy in Houston, and his experiences of his neighborhood, family, friends, and own sexuality. I will certainly be getting a copy of this book once some of the strain is taken off Amazon.

Finally, here is a YouTube link to his book talk about “Lot” in 2019 at the coffee shop, Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.. Hearing Washington speak about the influences of his life and work is interesting, and it is wonderful to hear the work read in his own voice with enthralling delivery.


Nate GosweilerNate Gosweiler is a graduate assistant for Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication department. This week he will be catching up on some leisure reading in order to avoid necessary reading. That certainly won’t be regretted later…

 


 


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Foto Friday: Literary Festival Lineup

By Kallie Stahl 

The 22nd Annual Villanova Literary Festival begins Thursday, Feb. 20! A reception and book signing with the author will follow each reading. All events begin at 7 p.m. The festival, co-sponsored by the English Department, the Creative Writing Program, the Honors Program, Africana Studies, Global Interdisciplinary Studies, The Writing Center, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Falvey Memorial Library, is free and open to the public.

Dinaw Mengestu — Thursday, February 20, Dougherty Hall, West Lounge 

Mengestu is the author of three novels, all of which were named New York Times Notable Books: All Our Names (2014), How To Read the Air (2010), and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007). He is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow and recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction, Guardian First Book Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other honors.

Bryan Washington — Tuesday, March 24, Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner 

Washington’s debut collection of short stories, Lot, was published by  in 2019. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New York TimesThe New York Times MagazineThe New Yorker, BBC, The Paris Review, Tin House, and numerous other publications. He’s also a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 winner, and the recipient of an O. Henry Award.

Brenda Shaughnessy — Thursday, April 2, Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner 

Shaughnessy is the author of five poetry collections, including The Octopus Museum (2019), So Much Synth (2016) and Our Andromeda (2012), which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, The International Griffin Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award. A 2013 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Shaughnessy is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark.

Robin Coste Lewis — Tuesday, April 21, Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner 

Coste Lewis is the poet laureate of Los Angeles. In 2015, her debut poetry collection, Voyage of the Sable Venus, won the National Book Award in poetry–the first time a poetry debut by an African-American had ever won the prize in the National Book Foundation’s history. Lewis’ writing has appeared in various journals and anthologies such as Time MagazineThe New YorkerThe New York TimesThe Paris ReviewTransition, and Best American Poetry.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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James Richardson, Poet, Kicks Off the Literary Festival

“The days are in order, the months, the seasons, the years. But the weeks are work. They have no names; they repeat.”
– James Richardson

Today, Jan. 31, James Richardson will visit Villanova University as part of the Literary Festival, co-sponsored by a host of organizations across campus including the English Department and the Falvey Memorial Library. A professor of creative writing at Princeton University, Richardson will talk about his newest collection, During, among other literary topics, during his visit to the Radnor/St. David’s Room in the Connelly Center at 7 pm.

James Richardson

Richardson’s career in the field of English literature began with his undergraduate education at Princeton University, where he graduated in 1971. From there he traveled to the University of Virginia to earn his MA and Ph.D., programs which he completed by 1975. For the next five years, Richardson taught at Harvard University as an assistant professor.

The majority of his academic career, however, has been spent at Princeton University, where he has served as a professor, a director of their creative writing program and as a seminar presenter. Richardson’s own creative work in poetry has brought him critical acclaim, and his unique voice and style have propelled him to the heights of literary accomplishment.

In addition to appearing in the New Yorker, Richardson’s work has appeared in various anthologies and collections published throughout the early 21st century. He’s also published a number of book-length works that contain both poetry and aphorisms. His books include As IfA Suite for Lucretians, and How Things Are; they are available through Interlibrary Loan.

By his own admission, Richardson’s aphorism writing started “more as a questionable habit” than the foundation for a career, but his work, of obvious cultural importance, has landed him in the lineup of this year’s Literary Festival. His presentation promises to be of as many philosophical, aesthetic and academic turns as his poetry, and we hope to see you there!

Dig Deeper:

Richardson-By-the-Numbers-150

Dig deeper with his additional works available through Falvey’s catalogue: By the Numbers, Interglacial and Reservations or by viewing his biography via the Gale Literature Resource Center.


william thumbnailArticle by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.


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Last Modified: January 31, 2017