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Amherst Books
8 Main Street  Amherst, MA 01002  ·   413.256.1547  ·  800.503.5865  ·  books@amherstbooks.com

< May 2006 >

Events listed in white are at the bookshop; events listed in yellow are elsewhere.

All events are free & open to the public.

(Click on a picture to purchase.)
Amherst College professor Lawrence Douglas will read from his witty & disquieting first novel, The Catastrophist.   Lawrence, author of the The Memory of Judgment: Making Law & History in the Trials of the Holocaust & (with Alexander George) Sense & Nonsensibility: Lampoons of Learning & Literature, manages to combine the range of his sensibilities to create a tragicomic academic novel which dances nimbly along the appallingly misguided life of a Holocaust studies professor. (Read more about the novel!)
Anne Ciecko
CANCELED Join us in celebrating the publication of a new book edited by University of Massachusetts communications professor Anne Ciecko.   Ciecko is author of numerous articles on transgender film, British women filmmakers, Hong Kong action films, & Asian film.   Contemporary Asian Cinema has authoritative on the cinema of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong & Japan. Read more!
“Live Lit”   Students in the M.F.A. Program at the University of Massachusetts will read from their recent work.   Evenings usually include a mix of poetry & fiction.
Poets Myung-Mi Kim & Lynn Xu will read.   Kim’s books of poems include Commons, DURA, The Bounty, & Under Flag, winner of the Multicultural Publisher’s Exchange Award (Kelsey St. Press).   She is Professor of English at SUNY-Buffalo.   Xu was born in Shanghai.   She is a graduate fellow at Brown's MFA program.   Anne Carson, who selected Xu's work as the winner of the 2006 Greg Grummer Contest, observed of the poems that they "have the passionate compression & quick syntactic spring of a John Donne lyric...[but] the way these disintegrate gently into an imprecision which is sort of raw, but even more thoughtful".   Her first chapbook, June, is published by Corollary Press.
LiveFeed Swallow
“Jubilat/Jones Reading Series”   Poets Tom Thompson & Miranda Field will read in the Trustees Room at the Jones Library in Amherst.   Thompson is author of the collection of poetry, Live Feed, of which Jorie Graham wrote, “a sense of readiness, great poise, & tightly-wound-up power govern this book from start to finish.   It is original, as well as distinctly of its time.   The voice is haunting, its probing necesssary, its arrivals sturdy, passionate & true”.   His poems & reviews have appeared in such journals as American Letters & Commentary, Antioch Review, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, & Fence.   Field's first book, Swallow, won a Katharine Bakeless Nason Literary Publication Award in Poetry, & she has also received a “Discovery”/The Nation Award, a Pushcart Prize, & a Teaching Fellowship at Bread Loaf.   James Longenbach wrote that her poems “are too beautifully made to idealize freedom, too much in love with vicissitude to idealize beauty”.
Leora Skolkin–Smith will read from her new novel, Edges: O Palestine, O Israel.   “Edges is an elegantly written, moving novel that has a lot to say about love, identity, history & the meaning of nationality.   The book is worth reading alone for its superb language, but it is gripping & unforgettable as well in its story telling & evocation of place & emotions.   It is a wonderful novel by an author with an accomplished voice & style, one well deserving a wide & receptive audience.”—Oscar Hijuelos.   Skolkin-Smith spent her childhood traveling between New York & Israel.   She recently co-founded the Emmett Till/Anne Frank Program, a multicultural educational initiative for Afro-American & Jewish youth in Brooklyn.
The Robert Frost Library at Amherst Colleger will host a party to celebrate the publication of a new book by Michael Kasper, librarian, author of numerous articles, translations, & artists‘ books, including, Iconoclasm in Pontus, Shapes & Spacing of the Letters, Billy! Turn Down That TV!, All Cotton Briefs, Plans for the Night, Verbo-Visuals, & Chinese English Sentence Cards.   Kasper has newly rendered into English (with help from Bhamati Viswanathan) Saint Ghetto of the Loans, by Gabriel Pomerand.   The book is a bilingual reissue by Ugly Duckling Presse (Brooklyn) of a legendary but little seen masterpiece of French book art from 1950.   A prose poem about postwar Left Bank Paris is accompanied by 47 striking full-page rebus illustrations.
Benjamin Kunkel will read from his intelligent & enjoyable first novel, Indecision.   Jay McInerney, writing in the New York Times Book Review said that the adventures of Dwight Wilmerding made for the “funniest & smartest coming-of-age novel in years“.   Kunkel is a founding editor of n+1, the small but influential cultural magazine.
Barbara Guest memorial reading.   Please join us in celebrating the life & work of poet Barbara Guest.   A reading of her work by area poets Elizabeth Willis, Peter Gizzi, Juliana Leslie, Lori Shine, Eric Baus & others will be followed by a reception.   Free and open to the public.

Born in 1920 in North Carolina, Barbara Guest settled in New York City, where she became connected with the emerging poets & Abstract-Expressionist artists of the New York School, who were in turn to influence her poetry.   Her books of poetry include The Location of Things, Poems, The Blue Stairs, Moscow Mansions, The Countess from Minneapolis, Seeking Air, Herself Defined, The Türler Losses, Biography, Fair Realism, Musicality, Defensive Rapture, & The Red Gaze.   A festschrift was held at Brown University in her honor in 1993, & for two consecutive years (1995 & 1996), she received America Awards for literature from the Contemporary Arts Council.   She was also awarded the Lawrence Lipton Prize, the San Francisco State University Poetry Award, & the Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Poetry Society of America.   She died on February 15, 2006, in Berkeley, where she lived with her daughter.

Lee Welles will autograph copies of the first book in her new “Gaia Girls” series for young adults—Enter the Earth.   In the Gaia Girls series, four girls, each from a different region of the world, are chosen by Gaia, the living entity of earth & endowed with power of earth, air, wind or fire.   Each is tasked with righting an environmental wrong & must learn that with power comes great responsibility.   In Book One, Enter the Earth, we meet Elizabeth Angier.   Elizabeth lives on a farm in Upstate New York.   Her farm, Three Oaks, is an organic farm that has been in her family for hundreds of years.   (Visit the Gaia Girls website).   Like Elizabeth, the author Lee Welles grew up on a farm in Upstate New York & now lives nearby with her husband, two farting dogs & one demanding cat.   Special extra event: Lee Welles drives a “grease car”—a car that has been converted to running on grease (veggie-oil) instead of gasoline.   Lee will be showing off her car at the monthly meeting of the Pioneer Valley Electric Auto Association (www.pveaa.org) at the Jones Library at 3:00 P.M., before her visit to Amherst Books.
Jan Conn will read from her new volume of poetry, Jaguar Rain: the Margaret Mee Poems. Jaguar Rain is at once a book of stand-alone poems & a work of scholarship, with textual notes & bibliography.   Written in the voice of Margaret Mee (naturalist, explorer, & painter of flowers in the Amazon between 1956 & 1988), the poems are infused with wonder at a discovered new world of extraordinary richness, which is also an old world still governed by myth & the ecological interdependence of everything: plant, animal, human, god; the living & the dead.   Conn is author of five previous collections of poetry, most recently Beauties on Mad River: Selected & New Poems.   “Amazonia”, a suite of poems, won second prize in the CBC Literary Awards, 2003.
MeteoricFlowers Shake
Elizabeth Willis & Joshua Beckman will read from recent poetry.   Willis is author of several volumes of poetry, viz., The Human Abstract, Second Law, Turneresque &, most recently, Meteroric Flowers.   She is editing a collection of essays on Lorine Niedecker & teaches at Wesleyan University.   “Meteoric Flowers is a stunning collision of the pastoral tradition with the politics of the post-industrial age.   These poems are allusive & tough.  While they celebrate the pleasures of the natural world—mutability, desire, & the flowering of things—they are compounded by a critical awareness of contemporary culture.”   Beckman is author the recently released collection of poetry, Shake, as well as Things are Happening. Your Time Has Come, Something I Expected to be Different &, with Matthew Rohrer, Nice Hat. Thanks.   “Beckman's new poems come to us directly & intimately.   Compulsively readable, full of fear & persistence, they resonate with the wildness & generosity of Ginsberg, Whitman, & Ted Berrigan, turning the everyday into an encompassing, harrowing, humorous, necessary vision.   Beckman is, as Publishers Weekly notes, ‘the real thing’.”   He is an editor of Wave Books.

Last updated 16 October, 2008Site Map