Next Up – Aaron Kunin & Sawako Nakayasu

The New Writing Series welcomes two emerging talents to Orono for a joint reading on Thursday, November 8. The event starts at 4:30pm in the Soderberg Auditorium on the University of Maine campus and is free & open to all.

Poet and translator Sawako Nakayasu was born in Yokohama, Japan, and has lived mostly in the United States since she was six. She has published several works of poetry, including the recent nothing fictional but the accuracy or arrangement (she, and is editor of Factorial Press, which “was founded in order to publish and encourage collaborative writing, and has been expanded to include works in translation, mostly from Japanese.”

Nakayasu lists among her poetic influences the work of Gertrude Stein, Yoko Ono, John Cage and John Edgar Wideman. A graduate of Brown University, her reviewers have commented that, while many “younger poets have been reduced to repeating the gestures of a decrepit literary vanguard,” Nakayasu “can awaken our imaginations to new poetic possibilities.” Her blog chapbook, Insect Tutelage has been praised as “among the best executed in the 2007 Dusie e-chap series from both design and literary standpoints.” You can read an interview with Sawako Nakayasu here, and excerpts from her blog here and here.

Poet, critic, novelist, and cinephile Aaron Kunin will also read from his work on November 8. Kunin, whose influences include J.J. Thompson, Jalal Toufic and Edmond Jabès, is the author of Folding Ruler Star, a collection of poems whose “tension is so palpable…that one feels as though one has opened a door onto an indiscriminately compromised scene.” Introducing Kunin’s work to the readers of the Boston Review, Peter Gizzi writes:

Aaron Kunin’s poems are literally outrageous. They are 1) a: exceeding the limits of what is normal or tolerable, b: not conventional; 2) violent or unrestrained in action or emotion; and (sometimes) 3) offensive. At the same time they are filled with the proper concerns of poetry. They are interested in divinity and accident, physical beauty and romantic love. They are inventive but not narrowly so. They are cutting without being ironic; they have pathos without sentimentality. In short, Kunin’s poems belong to the great tradition of the tragicomic. Jack Spicer once wrote that “A really perfect poem has an infinitely small vocabulary,” and Aaron Kunin has outrageously written an entire book using no more than two hundred words. In other words, he has created a drama for two hundred players, a world teetering brilliantly between containment and chaos. Anything can happen here—and does.

Aaron Kunin took his Ph.D. at Duke University, and is currently Assistant Professor of English at Pomona College. Read an interview with Kunin here, and a review here.

Poet Aaron KuninPoet Sawako Nakayasu

Thanks to Hansie Grignon for her work researching and preparing this release.

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