Little Dickens. Short Longfellow. Reduced Proust… All the Great Books. As anyone named Cliff will tell you, Less is More. The Literary Canon explodes as the bad boys of abridgement again unleash comic outrage on an unsuspecting public. America’s best loved comedy troupe takes you on a 98 minute roller- coaster ride through its compact compendium of 89 of the world’s great books in All The Great Books (abridged). It’s 1.1 books per minute (on average). Confused by Confucius? Thrown by Thoreau? Wish Swift was faster? Aiming for an ace of Tennyson? Then hop aboard and buckle up as the three cultural guerrillas of the Reduced Shakespeare Company zip through everything you should have read in school but probably didn’t. It’s a blast of bibliography. You’ve seen their PBS special. You’ve heard them on National Public Radio. They are officially London’s longest-running comedy troupe, and have broken box-office records at the Kennedy Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. What are you waiting for? Tempus fugit! Reductio ad absurdum.
In the spirit of Shakespeare himself, RSC shows contain some occasional bawdy language and mild innuendo. All children (and parents) are different, so we’ve chosen to rate our shows PG- 13: Pretty Good If You’re Thirteen.
Alicia Ostriker is a poet and critic, author of seventeen collections of poetry, most recently The Book of Seventy (winner of the National Jewish book Award), The Old Woman, the Tulip and the Dog, and Waiting for the Light. She has received the Paterson Poetry Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and has been twice nominated for the National Book Award, among other honors. As a critic she is the author of Stealing the Language; the Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America, and other books on poetry and on the Bible. She is distinguished Professor Emerita of Rutgers University, teaches in the low-residency Poetry MFA program at Drew university, and is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. This event is part of the Jewish Cultural Studies Program.
Alena Graedon’s first novel, The Word Exchange, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Paperback Row pick, and selected as a best novel of 2014 by Kirkus. It has been translated into eight languages. She has twice been a MacDowell Colony Fellow
(2012 and 2017), and has also received fellowships at Yaddo, Ucross, The Virginia Center for the Arts, The Vermont Studio Center, and Jentel. Her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times Book Review, newyorker.com, The Believer magazine, Guernica, and Post Road among other publications. A native of Durham, NC, Graedon is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University’s MFA program, and she is an Assistant Professor of English at Monmouth University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Two Irish poets, Eleanor Hooker and Clodagh Beresford Dunne will read from their works. Eleanor Hooker is a poet and writer. In 2013, her debut collection of poetry, The Shadow Owner’s Companion was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine Award for Best First Irish Collection. In 2016, she published her second collection of poems A Tug of Blue and she was included as one of Poetry Ireland Review’s ‘Rising Generation’ of Irish poets. In February 2016, her flash fiction The Lesson was awarded 1st Prize in the Bare Fiction Flash Fiction competition in the UK. Her poetry has been published in literary journals internationally including: POETRY (Chicago), PN Review, Poetry Ireland Review, AGENDA Poetry, The Stinging Fly, The SHOp, The Moth, The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, Crannóg, POEM: International English Language Quarterly and Cyphers.
Clodagh Beresford Dunne was the recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland Emerging-Writer Award Bursary, 2016. Her poems have appeared in Irish and international print and online journals, including Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times, The Stinging Fly, Southword, The Moth, The Pickled Body, Spontaneity and Pittsburgh Poetry Review. She is the recipient of a number of literature awards from Irish Artlinks, Waterford City and County Arts Office. Born and raised in a regional newspaper family, her writing was first committed to print at age 8. Described by Irish poet Thomas McCarthy as “a writer of great seriousness and purpose,” Beresford Dunne’s poetry has been hailed as “announcing a new vision to us, a new vortex of energy that localises human experience and domesticates genius.”