Heaven-Photo: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
In a discussion with poet Lawrence Joseph about his work on his debut book of poetry, The Ground, (FSG, 2012) Phillips discusses his work as a translator and a literary critic and how these affect his creative lens. He also discusses the importance of myth, story, and disturbances of the natural world in his work, stating: “There’s something monumental and terrifying about myth when it’s allowed to become again something more than a euphemism for fiction––as in “that’s just a myth”––and it creeps with conviction into your belief system.”
The Ground will be available in the City Tech bookstore.
Rowan Ricardo Phillips, photo: BlueFlower Arts
We are pleased to announce this year’s guest speaker, poet and essayist Rowan Ricardo Phillips. Phillips is author of two poetry collections published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Heaven (2015) and The Ground: Poems (2013). Phillips is the the recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim fellowship for poetry, the Whiting Writers’ Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award and the GLCA New Writers Award for Poetry, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Heaven, an award that recognizes works that contribute to our understanding racism and cultural diversity.
Phillips’ poetry and writing has appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker, Poetry, Granta, and The Paris Review. He is a contributing writer for Artforum Magazine and has written extensively online about soccer for The New Republic and The Paris Review, where he also contributes a column on basketball. In addition to his work in the field of poetry, Phillips writes literary criticism, art criticism, literary sports writing, and non-fiction. The author of the influential critical study of poetry When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness, Phillips is also the translator of Salvador Espriu’s story collection Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth as well as numerous other works from Catalan, Spanish, and Italian.
Born in New York City in 1974 Phillips earned his BA at Swarthmore College and his PhD at Brown University. He has taught at Stony Brook, Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia. A Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, he divides his time between New York City and Barcelona.
We are getting very excited for our 35th annual Literary Arts Festival tomorrow night. Our volunteers have put together a great show with a surprise film, dancing by the City Tech Steppers, readings by students and contest winners, and the featured writer Mary Gaitskill.
Please come support us in 2016.
Mary Gaitskill’s recent novel The Mare, published in November 2005, tells the story of Ginger, a married woman in upstate New York, and Velvet, a Dominican girl from Williamsburg and Crown Heights, Brooklyn, who comes to live with Ginger and Paul intermittently through the Fresh Air Fund. As Ginger and Velvet begin to depend on and find depth through their evolving relationship, the differences between their lives are illuminated and challenged; while an unwieldy horse offers an opportunity for Velvet and Ginger to prove to themselves and others the power of individual determination and of learning how to offer and receive love.The Mare will soon be available in City Tech bookstore.The book has received critical acclaim including:
In her third book of short stories, Don’t Cry, Gaitskill continues her exploration of human failings and confusions in ten short stories. These works take a turn with a deeper exploration of mothering and the bewilderment of violence and its effects. The volume contains the story “The Arms and Legs of the Lake.” Don’t Cry will soon be available in the City Tech bookstore. (Image: Amazon)
Mary Gaitskill’s first book, Bad Behavior, contains the short stories that drew immediate critical attention to her work when it was published in 1988. Their explorations of sexuality, gender, power plays in relationships, and the fragile foundations of family of friendship are investigated in these stories that set the bar for Gaitskill’s taut and lyrical prose. This volume contains the story “Secretary,” which was made into a movie in 2002 starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader. This book will soon be available at the City Tech bookstore. Image: Amazon.
Mary Gaitskill’s second novel tells the story of Alison and her relationship with an older woman with a powerful presence named Veronica. The storyline belongs primarily to Alison, whose life as a teenage runaway selling flowers outside of strip clubs dramatically shifts to the glamorous but tenuous reality as a high fashion model in New York City and Paris. But as her looks and fortune fades, Alison finds herself mired in the daily grind of 1980s as a proofreader in Manhattan where she meets Veronica. Veronica’s illness (she contracts HIV) has a profound affect on Alison, as she tries to manage her ties to family and friends and learn the art of making a living. Veronica was a finalist for a National Book Award in 2005. This book will soon be available in the City Tech bookstore.
Reviews of Veronica include:
Veronica: Two Girls Alive and Dead by Meghan O’Rourke in the New York Times
Mary Gaitskill Photo: Derek Shapton
Mary Gaitskill has written three books of short stories and three novels including the widely acclaimed Veronica and Bad Behavior. Her writing is recognized for its exacting prose style and sensitive explorations of human relationships and failings, with an eye toward physical interactions, violence, obsession, and desire. Her new novel, The Mare, explores contemporary class, race, and the complex politics of “giving” through the story of a young Dominican girl from Brooklyn who comes to live with a couple in upstate New York through the controversial Fresh Air Fund and how all of their lives are changed. She’ll read at our Literary Arts Festival on March 24, 2016. For more information on Mary Gaitskill, visit her Wikipedia page.