By the Book
October 10-Maureen Morehead (A Sense of Time Left) and Frederick Smock (Guest House) will be reading from their new books, both published by Larkspur Press at Black Swan Books in Lexington.
October 11-As part of their Karma in the Café, Good Foods Coop hosts a Poetry Slam the second Saturday of every month at 6:30pm at Southland Drive, Lexington. A Slam is a type of poetry competition made popular by local communities of contemporary poets in the Midwest and Northeast during the 1980s. The poetry anthology Aloud, describes a Slam as "a contact sport." It encourages the audience and artists to all participate in a fun-filled, high-energy evening of word swapping and lyric battling. Traditionally anyone present is allowed to "slam." A panel of five audience members (preferably those who have never been part of the Slam experience) will act as judges and pare down the competition in a series of three rounds. All Slam poets must perform their own work and must not use any kind of musical prop. Artists are allowed to work in teams of two, but are required to continue as a team throughout the duration of the competition.
October 10 through 12-OKI Writers' Roundtable. Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana writers gather at Hanover College and Madison, Indiana, for a weekend of workshops and lectures. This year's outstanding workshop leaders are James Alexander Thom (historical fiction), David Clewell (poetry), Nancy Zafris (fiction), and Moses Goldberg (playwriting). The historic river town of Madison and the colors of autumn contribute to a great fall weekend for those interested in writing. The atmosphere is scholarly, yet down-home. For information or to register e-mail Roundtable Director Kay Stokes firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 10 through 12-The 2003 Southern Festival of Books will be held at Nashville's War Memorial Plaza. http://www.tn-humanities.org/sfbmain.htm
October 13 Linda Scott DeRosier, Songs of Life and Grace (see sidebar) and Clyde Scott Pack, Muddy Branch, will discuss and sign their books, 12-2pm at CoffeeTree Books in Morehead.
October 15-Linda Scott DeRosier will read from Songs of Life and Grace at Black Swan Books, Lexington, 7pm.
October 15 & 16-The region's arts and cultural community will come together for two days of exhibits, performances, displays and fun at The Kentucky Center Arts and Culture Festival celebrating the 20th Anniversary of The Kentucky Center for the Arts. The Kentucky Writers' Coalition exhibit will include many books by Kentucky authors. Among the numerous authors who will be available to sign copies of their books are Frederick Smock, Kathleen Driskell, W. Loren Smith, Charlie Hughes and others. The festivities begin at 11am each day and admission is free and open to the public.
October 17-Leatha Kendrick will read from Science in Your Own Back Yard, and George Ella Lyon from A Kentucky Christmas. Black Swan Books, Lexington, 6pm.
October 17-The brief-residency MFA in Writing program at Spalding University will present a reading by Michael Ondaatje 7:30pm, Friday, October 17 in the Grand Ballroom of the Seelbach-Hilton. Limited seating; reservations required email@example.com.
October 22-Charles Thompson and Dr. Thomas D. Clark will sign copies of Going On 200: Century Old Businesses in Kentucky at Black Swan Books, 505 East Maxwell Street, Lexington, 7pm.
October 23-Phillip Krummrich & Lisa Creech read at the Kentucky Folk Art Center, Morehead. 7pm. Free and open to the public. For more information contact Melodie Past, coordinator, 606/ 783.2340. Sponsored by the Caudill College of Humanities and the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Philosophy.
October 24-Author Lynn Hightower, Kentucky native who studied creative writing alongside Wendell Berry at the University of Kentucky, has a new novel, Fortunes of the Dead, complete with Lexington settings and a "cottage in an eclectic neighborhood called Chevy Chase." She will be doing a signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellersf or her new book, Fortunes of the Dead, 7pm.
October 24 & 25-Kentucky State Poetry Society annual workshop and awards weekend at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Kentucky Poet Laureate Joe Survant will lead this year's workshop Saturday from 2 to 4pm, and will present the keynote speech at the awards banquet Saturday evening at 6:30. For more information see http://windpub.com/ksps
November 1-SoUPfest X: The Resurrection. Featured readers include Ed McClanahan, Christina Abraham, Bianca Spriggs, and many others. The event will also feature live music. The Dame, 156 W. Main St., Lexington, 7pm. SoUPfest X will mark the 10th anniversary of the Society of Underground Poets' Poetry and Music Festival. For more information on the event, contact Troy Teegarden at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 606/ 782.3886.
November 8-Kentucky Book Fair. This longstanding Kentucky tradition has three key goals: 1. To honor the profession of writing. 2. To provide a format for authors to meet their reading public. 3. To raise money for school and public libraries throughout Kentucky. Since its inception in 1981, the Book Fair has awarded over $200,000 to Kentucky libraries. The Book Fair will feature over 150 authors from Kentucky and beyond. http://www.kdla.net/kybookfair.htm. Frankfort, KY.
The Southern Kentucky Book Fest will present the Kentucky Literary Awards for excellence in nonfiction, fiction and poetry publications. Winners in each category will be announced on Friday, April 16, 2004, and will be given a commemorative certificate and a cash prize of $1,000. Nominations are now being accepted. Books eligible for the Kentucky Literary Awards must have been written by a Kentucky author or have a Kentucky related theme. Any individual, organization, or company may nominate books to be considered for these awards. The book must have been published and distributed between January 1 and December 31, 2003. Entries must be postmarked on or before January 15, 2004. No entry fee required. Specific guidelines and nomination forms are available upon request or can be filed online through the Book Fest web site: www.sokybookfest.org. For more information contact Jonathan Jeffrey at 270/ 745.5083 or Jonathan.Jeffrey@wku.edu.
This is Kentucky's year for the Writers' Exchange Competition. Since 1984 writers from one state have been chosen each year by Poets & Writers Magazine to participate in the Writers Exchange. This year, writers from Kentucky are invited to submit manuscripts through December. The winning writers are flown to New York City for an all-expense-paid trip to meet with agents, editors, publishers, and the writing community in New York. Their visit culminates with a public reading. More information is available at http://www.pw.org/rw/WEXchoice.htm.
|l||Education Leads to Life Experiences
in UK 101Classes
"Education, if it takes, changes the inside of our heads so that we do not see the same world we previously saw." This is a philosophy author Linda Scott DeRosier espouses and a central theme of her memoir Creeker: A Woman's Journey, which was selected as the first summer reading for this semester's UK 101 courses at the University of Kentucky. The UK 101 class, a one-credit introductory course offered to incoming freshman and transfer students, is a college crash course. Professors from various departments at UK meet with classrooms full of nervous and eager students to talk about study habits, stress, social life, drinking, and the city of Lexington, among other topics. Since college is an immense time of transition, the university saw the course as a way to acclimate new students to the large campus and to prepare them for the hurdles and time management needs that come with attending college.
DeRosier's Creeker is UK's first effort at a required summer reading. "Summer reading programs are becoming common practice at many universities, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University," says Rebecca Jordan, Associate Dean of students and one of the directors of the UK 101 program. The University has created a goal to require summer readings for all first-year students. This premiere effort will allow program administrators to assess the benefits and challenges that come with such a curriculum.
Phil Kraemer, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, assembled a committee of faculty to submit recommendations for the summer reading. DeRosier's Creeker traces the author's major life transitions, including love, family, or school. "Creeker was chosen because it contains numerous themes: diversity, transition to college, the transforming power of education that relate to UK 101," says Jordan. The fact that DeRosier attended UK creates a regional connection for the students. Stanley Brunn, a geography professor who teaches a UK 101 class, claims DeRosier's book is a "geo autobiography, a story of her life that is strongly rooted in place."
Linda DeRosier will visit the UK campus to speak to UK 101 students and the community on Wednesday, October 15 at 4pm in the Worsham Theater in the UK Student Center. "The idea to invite DeRosier to campus was inspired by the experience of other universities that have invited the authors of summer readings to their campuses," Jordan says. During class time students have been not only discussing the book and its relevance but have been journaling and sharing their own life stories and transitions. Brunn adds, "The more we discuss the book in class and students write journal entries, the more linkages they will observe with Linda. Her narrative speaks volumes for those experiencing transitions in life, and that is what all UK students experience when they come here."
The UK 101 students and staff have been preparing for DeRosier's campus visit. Some classes are creating flyers to post on campus and many classes are submitting questions for the author to a panel of four UK 101 students, who will be asking DeRosier selected questions during her visit. DeRosier will speak for 30 to 40 minutes and then the floor will open to the four-student panel until 5:15 p.m. After the presentation, DeRosier will be signing her book. The talk is free and open to the public.
Creeker stresses the importance of education and how much it affects all other aspects of life. DeRosier notes that her own education "was able to give me exactly what I had been looking for all along: love, and through that love, salvation." The university supplied her with a wealth of new ideas in books, people, and experiences. She also addresses university faculty: "Although universities give lip service to the importance of teaching, the truth is that most administrators and professors attach little value to time spent advising students or in the classroom."
Which is exactly the idea behind the UK 101 course, which allows faculty to meet face-to-face with students and to personally aid them in coping with the ups and downs of college life. UK 101 is not a class where formulas must be memorized or lab reports must be explained, but it does serve as a home base where students can discuss life and the decisions ahead of them, especially those dealing with their college education.
October 11- Southern Festival of Books, 10-11am
October 13-Coffee Tree Books (with Clyde Roy Pack), Morehead, 12 noon
October 15-Worsham Theatre, Student Center, University of Kentucky, 4-5:30 pm
October 15- Black Swan Books, Lexington, 7pm
Me and Ken Pull Off a Hat Trick
by Ed McClanahan
On November 10, marking the second anniversary of the death of the novelist (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; Sometimes a Great Notion) and cultural icon/iconoclast Ken Kesey, Viking-Penguin will publish, simultaneously, two very different books relating to the late Oregon disturber of the peace, who was a treasured friend of mine for 40 years. I had a hand in both books.
Kesey's Jail Journal, for which I contributed an introduction, is a sumptuously oversized hardback volume of commingled writings and artwork that Kesey produced during his six-month sojourn in the San Mateo (CA) county slam in the late 1960s. It's a stunner, friends; lots of vibrant, full-color plates of cosmically illuminated, psychedelically-inspired manuscript, each page (as I wrote in the introduction) "so crammed with words and colors and faces and forms that it seem[s] ready to explode in your face like a letter bomb," Kesey demonstrating a dozen times on every page that everything he touched turned into art.
Spit In the Ocean #7: All About Kesey is the seventh-and final-issue of Ken's I've-got-it-kids-let's-publish-a-magazine, a sort of hip-pocket endeavor that began in 1974 and lasted, sporadically but heroically, till 1981, six issues later. Spit 7, which I edited, is of course a tribute issue-"a loving, many-faceted mosaic portrait" (quoting the jacket copy, which I wrote) "of one of the most compelling creative forces in modern American culture."
This lavishly illustrated Penguin paperback original includes contributions from writers like Larry McMurtry, Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson, Robert Stone, Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, Kesey's Kentucky connections Wendell Berry, Gurney Norman, James Baker Hall, and my modest self, alongside cultural luminaries like folk music genius Rosalie Sorrels and basketball genius Bill Walton and film-director genius Gus Van Sant, and many vintage Merry Pranksters and innocent bystanders whose lives Kesey touched or influenced-or, occasionally, interfered with-in some unforgettable, unalterable way. Added to the mix is (quoting myself again) "a dazzling array of previously unpublished pieces by Kesey himself"-essays, speeches, letters, and radio interviews, plus moving obituaries mourning the passing of his friends Jerry Garcia, Tim Leary, and Allen Ginsberg. Man, could this guy write!
But wait, there's more: By a wonderful stroke of serendipity, the University Press of Kentucky has just published a spanking new edition of my own 1985 seriocomic autobiography Famous People I Have Known, in which Kesey plays a major role, along with Jimmy Sacca and the Hilltoppers and Lexington's legendary Little Enis, the All-American Left-Handed Upsidedown Guitar player.
The new edition includes "Furthurmore: An Afterword" (about a 1990 trip on Furthur, Kesey's famous bus) and, for the first time, 14 photographs of many of the book's improbable cast of characters, and also restores the original cover by R. Crumb.
So, thanks to my excellent friend Ken, suddenly I'm the designated talking head for three books at the same time-a trifecta, a triple play, a hat trick! In November, I'll be going out to Oregon, where we'll take Furthur out of mothballs for a combination West Coast book tour and rolling Prankster reunion-the Spitfurthur Tour, we're calling it.
But both before and after the tour, there will also be a number of local and Lexington-area readings and booksignings, several of which will feature appearances by the Kentucky writers mentioned above, as well as by my associate editor and invaluable cohort Tom Marksbury, and Lexington artists Johnny Lackey, who is an art editor of Spit 7 and contributed a splendid linoleum-block portrait of Kesey, and Doug Simon, whose antic drawings enliven the text throughout the book.
As R. Crumb used to say, "Don't miss it if you can!"
Here's the schedule of events:
October 30-Good Foods Co-Op on Southland Drive in Lexington (with Michael Kelsay), 7pm
November 1-the Insomniacathon Poetry Festival at the Rudyard Kipling, in downtown Louisville, 2 pm
November. 1-the Society of Underground Poets Festival (SoUPfest) at The Dame in downtown Lexington, 9pm
November 8-Kentucky Book Fair, Frankfort, all day
November 25-Joseph-Beth Bookstore, Lexington, 7pm
December 5-Poor Richard's Bookstore, Frankfort, 7pm
December 7-Borders Bookstore, Shelbyville Rd., Louisville, 2pm
December 19-Black Swan Books, Lexington, KY (with Wendell Berry), 7pm
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