Visiting Writers

Drawing of a roseThe Visiting Writer Series at Reed College is sponsored by the Department of English. The intent is to bring interesting and diverse writers of prose and poetry to Reed to enhance our courses with readings and discussions.

The Department maintains a mailing list to which interested people can subscribe, to receive details of the upcoming Readings. The mailings are either electronic or paper. You can subscribe by emailing the Department office at vswr@reed.edu or calling the Department at 503-777-7753.

Visiting Writers Series (except for 11/20, which will be in the Chapel) will take place this year in the Music Rehearsal Room, Performing Arts Building #320. The readings begin at 6:30pm. Books are sold and refreshments are served!

2014-15 Schedule

View a list of former visiting writers.

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Lynne Tillman

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, September 18, 6:30 PM
Performing Arts Building 320

Lynne Tillman broadsideLynne Tillman is a novelist, short-story writer, and critic. Her most recent novel, American Genius, A Comedy, was published by Soft Skull Press in 2006 and cited as one of the best books of the millennium (so far) by the Millions. Tillman's other novels are Haunted Houses (1987), Motion Sickness (1991), Cast in Doubt (1992), and No Lease on Life (1998), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her fourth collection of stories, Someday This Will Be Funny (2011), was published by Red Lemonade Press. Her other story collections are This Is Not It (2002), stories and novellas written in response to the work of twenty-two contemporary artists; The Madame Realism Complex (1992); and Absence Makes the Heart (1990). She has published four works of nonfiction: The Broad Picture, an essay collection (1997); The Velvet Years: Warhol's Factory 1965–67, based on photographs by Stephen Shore (1995); Bookstore: The Life and Times of Jeannette Watson and Books & Co. (1999); and, most recently, her second essay collection, What Would Lynne Tillman Do? (2014).

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Bruce Smith

Poetry Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, October 9, 6:30 PM
Performing Arts Building 320

Bruce Smith broadsideBruce Smith was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the author of six books of poems, The Common Wages, Silver and Information (National Poetry Series, selected by Hayden Carruth), Mercy Seat, The Other Lover (University of Chicago), which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Songs for Two Voices, and most recently Devotions, a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the LA Times Book Prize. He received the 2012 William Carlos Williams Award whose citation read, "Bruce Smith has seemingly inhaled the entire English language to date." His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Partisan Review, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and many others. Essays and reviews of his have appeared in Harvard Review, Boston Review, Newsday, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He teaches at Syracuse University.

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Stacey Levine

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, October 30, 6:30 PM
Performing Arts Building 320

Stacey Levine broadsideStacey Levine is the author of four works of fiction: The Girl with Brown Fur, Frances Johnson, Dra---, and My Horse and Other Stories. A Pushcart Prize nominee, recipient of a PEN/Center USA Fiction Award, and a Stranger Genius Award for Literature, her fiction has appeared in Fence, Tin House, The Fairy Tale Review, The Washington Review, The Iowa Review, Yeti, Santa Monica Review, Seattle magazine, and others. Translations of her short fiction have appeared in Danish and Japanese publications. Levine is currently working on a novel.

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Mary Szybist

Poetry Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, November 20, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Mary Szybist broadsideMary Szybist is most recently the author of Incarnadine, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry. According to judge Kay Ryan, Syzbist's "lovely musical touch is light and exact enough to catch the weight and grind of love. This is a hard paradox to master as she does." Her first collection of poetry, Granted (2003), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the 2004 Great Lakes Colleges Associations New Writers Award. Szybist is also the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Pushcart Prize in 2012. She has been awarded residencies from the MacDowell Colony and the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center. Her work has appeared in the Iowa Review and Denver Quarterly and was featured in Best American Poetry (2008). In 2009, she was awarded a Witter Bynner Fellowship and a literature fellowship from the NEA. She is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and teaches at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

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Claudia Rankine

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, February 19, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Claudia Rankine is the author of several collections of poetry: Don't Let Me Be Lonely (Graywolf Press, 2004), Plot (Grove Press, 2001), The End of the Alphabet (Grove Press, 1998), and Nothing in Nature is Private (Cleveland State University Press, 1994). Her newest collection, Citizen: An American Lyric, is forthcoming from Graywolf later this year. In addition to poetry, Rankine has written plays including The Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue (commissioned by the Foundry Theater) and Existing Conditions (co-authored with Casey Llewellyn). She is co-editor of several anthologies including American Poets in the Twenty-First Century: The New Poetics (Wesleyan University Press, 2006) and The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind, forthcoming from Fence Books. She has been awarded fellowships by the Academy of American Poets, the Lannan Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2013, she was elected as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Among her most recent awards is the 2014 Morton Dauwen Zabel Award, presented by the American Academy of Arts & Letters and the Jackson Prize. Rankine currently teaches at Pomona College, where she is the Henry G. Lee Professor of English.

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Yona Harvey

Poetry Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, February 26, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Yona Harvey is the author of the poetry collection, Hemming the Water, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University. Her work has been published and anthologized in many places including Callaloo, jubilat, The Volta, and A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry (ed. Annie Finch). Her work has also been commissioned by poet and visual artist Vanessa German as part of German's museum installation "It's Out of My Hands," 21st Century Juju: New Magic, Soul Gadgets, and Reckoning." Harvey also created a audio poem for visual artist Casey Droege's Six x Ate project (MOCA Cleveland). She directed the Creative Writing Program at Carnegie Mellon University before coming to The University of Pittsburgh where she is currently an assistant professor in the Writing Program. She lives with her family in the Pittsburgh neighborhood not far from where jazz composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams grew up. Her website is yonaharvey.com.

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Jen Bervin

Poetry Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, March 5, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Jen Bervin's work brings together text and textile in a practice that encompasses poetry, archival research, artist's books, and large-scale art works. She has published four books with Granary Books and three others with Ugly Duckling Presse. The recent trade release of her artist's book first published as a limited edition by Granary, The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems, co-edited with Marta Werner (with a preface by Susan Howe) from Christine Burgin / New Directions, made "Best Books of 2013" lists in The New Yorker, The Times Literary Supplement and Hyperallergic. Current research for her next project, The Silk Poems, an experimental book nanoimprinted on silk film, includes consulting nanotechnology and biomedical labs, medical libraries, and over fifty international textile archives and sericulture museums. Jen Bervin has received fellowships and residencies in art and writing from the Bogliasco Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Creative Capital, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, MacDowell Colony, Visual Studies Workshop, Center for Book Arts, and Camargo Foundation in France. Her work has been shown at The Power Plant in Toronto, The Walker Art Center, The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, The Soap Factory, and Temple Contemporary, and is in more than thirty collections including Yale University, Stanford University, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and The J. Paul Getty Museum.

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Leanne Shapton

Reading (Free and open to the public)

Thursday, April 2, 6:30 PM
Eliot Chapel

Leanne Shapton is an artist, illustrator and writer who was born in Toronto and lives in New York. She has contributed to The New York Times, Harper's Magazine and The New Yorker. She is one of the founders of J&L Books, a non-profit publishing company specializing in new art and writing. She is the author of Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry and Swimming Studies, winner of the 2012 National Book Critic's Circle Award for autobiography.