Love is in the airor soon will be, anyway, as Valentine’s Day nears.
Four faculty members in the West Virginia University Department of English with national literary reputations will join forces to celebrate Valentine’s Day eve with a reading entitledLove and Other Demonsat 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at the Barnes&Noble at University Town Center.
The writersMark Brazaitis, Sarah Gerkensmeyer, James Harms and Mary Ann Samynplan an hour-long reading in which love, in all its guises and disguises, is lauded and eulogized, exulted and bid farewell.
My most recent book,An American Affair’and in more than a few of the stories in the collection,affair’is meant literally,said Mark Brazaitis, one of the writers.So I’ll definitely be reading from it.
The reading should be different than most, Brazaitis said, because the writers plan to utilize an unconventional format.Instead of reading back-to-back-to-back-to-back, we’re going to share the stage and alternate reading poems and short passages of prose,he said.Some of what we read may even be spontaneously chosen. It will be fun to play off the art and energy of the other writers.
The writers’books will be for sale at Barnes&Noble.Books make great Valentine’s Day presents,Brazaitis said.And they’re excellent consolation if you don’t have anyone to give a Valentine’s Day present to.
Professor Harms directs the master of fine arts (M.F.A.) program in creative writing in the Department of English. He is the author of five full-length collections of poetry from Carnegie Mellon University Press,Freeways and Aqueducts(2004),Quarters(2001),The Joy Addict(1998),Modern Ocean(1992), the forthcomingAfter West(2007), as well as a letter press, limited edition volume,East of Avalon(2000) from Caddis Case Press.
Harms’poems, essays and short stories have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Antioch Review, The American Poetry Review, Verse, The North American Review,
Oxford American and many other literary journals. In addition, he is a contributing editor of West Branch.
He has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the PEN /Revson Foundation Fellowship, grants from the West Virginia and Pennsylvania Art Commissions, and residencies from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo.
Brazaitis, an assistant professor, is the author ofThe River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala ,winner of the 1998 Iowa Short Fiction Award, and a novel,Steal My Heart.His most recent book,An American Affair,won the 2004 George Garrett Short Fiction Prize from Texas Review Press.
Brazaitis is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship as well as grants from the Eberly College . His stories, poems and essays have appeared in more than 40 magazines and literary journals, including The Sun, Glamour, Beloit Fiction Journal, Notre Dame Review, Poetry International, Atlanta Review, Witness and Shenandoah.
Samyn, an assistant professor, is the author of four collections of poetry:Purr(2005);Rooms by the Sea,winner of the 1994 Kent State UP/Wick Chapbook Prize;Captivity Narrative,winner of the 1999 Ohio State UP/The Journal Prize; andInside the Yellow Dress,a 2001 New Issues Press/Green Rose Selection. Her poems have appeared in Field, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review, The Ohio Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Verse, Mississippi Review, The Bitter Oleander, Pleiades, the anthology American Poetry: The Next Generation, and elsewhere.
Gerkensmeyer, a lecturer, attended the M.F.A. program at Cornell University . She has stories published or forthcoming in Orchid, North Dakota Quarterly, Sonora Review, The Nebraska Review and other literary journals. A former editorial assistant at Zoetrope: All Story, the literary magazine founded byGodfatherdirector Francis Ford Coppola, she hails from Indiana .