Dr. Max Cavitch, Associate Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
Please join us for a guest lecture by Dr. Max Cavitch, Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also an affiliated faculty member of the programs in Cinema Studies, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and Psychoanalytic Studies.
Dr. Cavitch will be discussing literary taste and value in relation to autobiography—one of the world’s most popular and widely practiced genres. From “highbrow” triumphs of artistic intention to “middlebrow” narratives of historical significance to “lowbrow” tell-alls of gossipy celebrity, there are autobiographies to suit every taste. But what is “taste,” anyway? What does it have to do with “literary value”? And, moreover, what do either taste or literary value have to do with the question of whose lives and life-stories matter?
Refreshments will be served. Students, faculty, and interested members of the public are warmly invited to attend.
Free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Wayne D. McMurray Endowed Chair in the Humanities, Dr. Kristin Bluemel
Join us for a book signing with the author, Robyn Crawford, former member of the women’s basketball team
About A Song For You
After decades of silence, Robyn Crawford, close friend, collaborator, and confidante of Whitney Houston, shares her story.
Whitney Houston is as big a superstar as the music business has ever known. She exploded on the scene in 1985 with her debut album and spent the next two decades dominating the charts and capturing the hearts of fans around the world. One person was there by her side through it all—her best friend, Robyn Crawford.
Since Whitney’s death in 2012, Robyn has stayed out of the limelight and held the great joys, wild adventures, and hard truths of her life with Whitney close to her heart. Now, for the first time ever, Crawford opens up in her new memoir, A Song for You.
With warmth, candor, and an impressive recall of detail, Robyn describes the two meeting as teenagers in the 1980s, and how their lives and friendship evolved as Whitney recorded her first album and Robyn pursued her promising Division I basketball career. Together during countless sold-out world tours, behind the scenes as hit after hit was recorded, through Whitney’s marriage and the birth of her daughter, the two navigated often challenging families, great loves, and painful losses, always supporting each other with laughter and friendship.
Deeply personal and heartfelt, A Song for You is the vital, honest, and previously untold story that provides an understanding of the complex life of Whitney Houston. Finally, the person who knew her best sets the record straight.
About Robyn Crawford
After a long career in the music industry, Robyn Crawford is now focused on mental and physical wellness and writing. She lives in New Jersey with her wife and children.
Help us mark the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Readers will present stories that have been posted to “9 Feet High,” part of the Just Beachy/After Sandy installation now on view in Rechnitz Hall’s DiMattio Gallery.
We invite you to participate by reading your own story, or listen as you hear your own story being read. Join us as your Sandy experience is acknowledged through the spoken word. Your story deserves to be heard!
In this lecture, eminent Eliot scholar and internationally renowned literary critic William Baker takes audiences on a multimedia celebration of Jewish author George Eliot’s life and times. Of special note will be the 200th anniversary of her epic novel Middlemarch.
About the speaker:
William Baker is Emeritus Professor of English and University Libraries at Northern Illinois University. He has authored more than 30 books, including numerous studies of George Eliot and nineteenth-century British literature.
The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s highly anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, is revealed. The momentous literary event will be celebrated with an exclusive live cinema broadcast, as Fane Productions present an evening with the Canadian novelist, poet, literary critic and inventor.
The publication of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985 and the current, Emmy Award-winning television series have created a cultural phenomenon, as handmaids have become a symbol of women’s rights and a protest against misogyny and oppression. Live from the London stage, Atwood will be interviewed by broadcaster and author Samira Ahmed in a conversation spanning the length of Atwood’s remarkable career, her diverse range of works, and why she has returned to her seminal handmaid story, 34 years later.
‘Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.’
With exclusive readings from the new book by special guests, this will be an unmissable and intimate event with Atwood, spotlighting her signature insight, humour and intellect.
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.”