OSWEGO — Genre-blending storytellers will highlight the fall 2012 edition of SUNY Oswego’s Living Writer Series, from outdoor adventurer and memoirist Susan Fox Rogers to interviewer-poet-elegist Patrick Lawler.
Living Writers presentations are free and open to the public from 3 to 4:20 p.m. Sept. 10, 18 and 24; Oct. 8 and 29; and Nov. 5 and 12 in the Campus Center auditorium at SUNY Oswego. All lectures are on Mondays with the exception of Sept. 18.
“What I tried to do with this series is to get people either working within multiple genres or in genres that cross boundaries,” said Donna Steiner, assistant professor of English and creative writing, who is in her first year organizing the series.
Multidisciplinary artist Kimi Eisele opens the series on Monday, Sept. 10. There is no way, Steiner said, to pigeonhole a person who has been an accomplished dancer and visual artist as well as a novelist, poet and nonfiction writer. Eisele will share how writing has infiltrated her artistic endeavors and community-based projects, and how words on paper can become literary activism.
On Sept. 18, SUNY Oswego alumnus and autobiographical novelist Jon Chopan of Rochester will talk about how he blended letters, stories, obituaries and writing fragments to author “Pulled from the River,” a chilling view of what it means to have grown up in a city haunted by serial killer Arthur Shawcross.
Rogers, a rock climber, backcountry skier and kayaker, recently wrote “My Reach: A Hudson River Memoir” — part nature guide, part history, part memoir — and will discuss it in a Sept. 28 appearance. “It’s been really cool to watch the progress of its birth,” said Steiner, who helped Rogers edit it.
Eminent novelist Philip Roth called Rogers’ book “elegantly written and beautiful … dominated by powerful, antithetical emotions; grief over the loss of elderly parents and exhilaration with exploring a great American river.” Rogers also has written, among others, “Antarctica: Life on the Ice,” “Solo: On Her Own Adventure” and “Going Alone: Women’s Adventures in the Wild.”
On Oct. 8, Marge Pellegrino, who wove narrative, drama and folk tales in her prize-winning novel for young adults, “Journey of Dreams,” will appear. It’s the story of how one family survives the Guatemalan army’s scorched-earth campaign in the 1980s. Pellegrino will talk about how expressive-arts work with refugees inspired the book, and how writing can be a tool for healing and building community.
A colleague of Steiner’s from graduate-school days at the University of Arizona, Beth Alvarado, will make an Oct. 29 presentation. Alvarado, a faculty member at the Tucson school, layers portraits, scenes, memories and dreams in her new work, “Anthropologies: A Family Memoir.” Publishers Weekly said the memoir “approaches prose poetry.”
On Nov. 5, SUNY Oswego journalism and creative writing alumna Samantha Shelton will return to campus to talk about her work at Fitness Magazine, where Shelton advanced from reader to intern to freelancer to full-time employee. Shelton will talk about how experiences at SUNY Oswego — from writing for and helping manage the Oswegonian student newspaper to getting Oswego’s edition of Her Campus online magazine up and running — helped her find success in the competitive world of New York City magazine writing.
On Nov. 12, Lawler, a poet as well as a fiction and nonfiction writer, will talk about his book “Underground (Notes Toward an Autobiography).” Author of the novel “Rescuers of Skydivers Search Among the Clouds” and several collections of poetry, including “Feeding the Fear of the Earth,” Syracusan Lawler teaches in multiple genres as well.
For more information about the Living Writers Series, contact the SUNY Oswego English and creative writing department at 312-2150.