Fisher family writer-in-residence Paisley Rekdal will read on March 17

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Award-winning essayist and poet Paisley Rekdal will visit Penn State as the Fisher family’s writer-in-residence during the week of March 14-18. As part of his visit, Rekdal will give a free public reading at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 17 in the Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium.

The in-person event will also be available via livestream; those interested in participating virtually should register in advance.

Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, “The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee”; the hybrid genre photo-text memoir “Intimate”; the book-length essay “The Broken Country: “On Trauma, A Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam”; and a book on cultural appropriation in literature titled “Appropriate: A Provocation” (WW Norton, 2021) also the author of six books of poetry: “A Crash of Rhinos”, “Six Girls Without Pants”, “The Invention of the Kaleidoscope”, “Animal Eye”, “Imaginary Vessels” and “Nightingale.

In “Appropriate: A Provocation,” Rekdal answers the question: “When is it culturally appropriate to creative writing? The Los Angeles Times describes the book and Rekdal’s treatment of this current and controversial issue this way: “Framed as a series of letters to a white college student, X, who wrote a poem partly in the voice of a older black person…Letters explores whether it is possible to write successfully across race, cases of racial imposters and intruders, the nature of whiteness, and much more…As a woman of mixed white and Chinese descent, Rekdal was both an outsider and an insider, knowing the other two. and privilege.

In “Nightingale”, Rekdal rewrites and modernizes many of the myths at the heart of Ovid’s epic, “The Metamorphoses”. Rekdal’s book won the Washington State Book Award and was named to the Washington Post’s “Best Poetry Collection” selection and NPR’s “Best of 2019” selection. The New York Journal of Books writes that the collection “explores what few writers since Ovid have reminded us: metamorphosis is a violent act, requiring dismemberment, silence, and fragmentation before it can become something new.”

A two-time finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Prize, her work has received the Amy Lowell Poetry Travel Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, Pushcart Awards, the Academy of American Poets Poet Laureate Fellowship, and inclusion in five editions of the Best American Poetry Series. She edited the anthology “The Best American Poetry 2020”.

Rekdal’s poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, and National Public Radio, among others. Distinguished Professor at the University of Utah, Rekdal is currently Utah Poet Laureate.

The Fisher Family Writer-in-Residence is sponsored by Steven Fisher, a 1970 English alumnus, and receives generous support from the Joseph L. Grucci Poetry Endowment, University Libraries, the English Department, and the College of Liberal Arts.

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