Writers Celebrate ‘More-Than-Human’ Lives
Thursday, November 9, 2023
7:00 - 8:30pm EST
Registration closes 3 hours before each event.
Join us for an evening of poetry and prose in celebration of more-than-human animals. Seven acclaimed literary artists read from their original work and discuss creative writing as a quiet adventure in paying “care-full” attention to those with whom we share the planet.
Crafting a poem or story in someone else’s honor—whether that someone be a shellfish, a rooster, or a boar—requires not only bearing witness to their experiences but also cultivating empathy. Simply by being different from our own, other animals’ unique ways of living ask us questions about our relationships with the Earth. They invite us to listen beyond ourselves, displace ourselves from the center of our imaginative universes, and reconsider the meanings of co-existence.
Authors Jennifer Calkins, Marybeth Holleman, Joanna Lilley, Gretchen Primack, Linnea Ryshke, Deb Olin Unferth, and Mandy-Suzanne Wong, share in readings and discussion, the artistry of humane language as an instrument for thinking beyond the human, and demonstrate, through their presentations, how other-than-human animals can open up our minds to the beauty of difference.
About the Writers
Jennifer Calkins is an anti-disciplinarian who plays within the disciplines of creative writing, evolutionary biology and environmental law. Her nonfiction publications range from scientific peer-reviewed articles focused on bird behavior and evolution, to critical animal theory and legal analysis, to pieces in the New York Times’ “Scientist at Work” blog. The 3rd Thing Press published her most recent book, the lyric noir Fugitive Assemblage, in 2020. Her first book, A Story of Witchery, is forthcoming from Punctum Books with illustrations by Thor Harris. Jen curates Delisted 2023, a collaborative emergent creative project engaging the extinction crisis.
Marybeth Holleman is author of the poetry collection tender gravity and several nonfiction books including The Heart of the Sound and Among Wolves. Raised in the southern Appalachians, she transplanted to Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, after falling for Prince William Sound just two years before the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Her essays, poetry, and articles have appeared in numerous publications including The North American Review, Orion, The Christian Science Monitor, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ice-Floe, Sierra, National Wildlife, ISLE, The Fate of Nature, Going Alone, American Nature Writing, Under Northern Lights, Solo, The Seacoast Reader and WOLF. Her radio commentaries have aired on National Public Radio, and her poetry won the 8th World Wilderness Congress award. She’s held artist residencies worldwide, including at Denali National Park.
Joanna Lilley’s lifelong compassion for nonhuman animals led her to write Endlings, a collection of poems about extinct species which won the Fred Kerner Book Award in 2021. She’s also the author of two other poetry books, a novel and a short story collection. Born in England, Joanna lived in Wales and Scotland before moving to Yukon in Canada where she resides with gratitude on the Traditional Territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. A co-founder of Yukon Words, Joanna is a recipient of the Commissioner of Yukon’s Borealis Prize for literary contribution.
Gretchen Primack is the author of Kind, republished by Lantern Books in 2021; Visiting Days (Willow Books Editors Select Series, 2019); and Doris’ Red Spaces (Mayapple Press, 2014). She also co-wrote, with Jenny Brown, the memoir The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals (Penguin Avery, 2012). Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, FIELD, Ploughshares, Poet Lore, Massachusetts Review, and other journals and anthologies. Primack has administrated and taught with college programs and poetry workshops in maximum-security prison for many years, and she is a proud indie bookseller at The Golden Notebook Bookstore in Woodstock, NY.
Linnea Ryshke creates paintings, drawings, artist books, installations and poetry to restore the value of other-than-human animals as agentic beings worthy of adoration, respect and empathy. Her work has been exhibited nationally; she released her first book, Kindling (2021) with Lantern Publishing. Her work largely derives from multi-species ethnographic research at sites of human-animal encounter such as a farm, a zoo, and a wildlife research station. She is currently working on a multi-disciplinary project and book, titled Afield. She is currently based in St. Louis, MO.
Deb Olin Unferth
Deb Olin Unferth is the author of six books, including the novel Barn 8, which tells the story of two auditors for the U.S. egg industry going rogue and attempting to liberate nearly a million chickens in a single night. Unferth has received a Guggenheim fellowship, four Pushcart Prizes, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times, The Paris Review, Granta, and McSweeney’s. A professor at the University of Texas at Austin, she also directs the Pen City Writers, a creative-writing program at a south Texas penitentiary.
Mandy-Suzanne Wong is a Bermudian writer of fiction and essays. Her novels include The Box, a Bustle Best Books of Fall 2023 selection, and Drafts of a Suicide Note, a Foreword INDIES literary-fiction finalist and PEN Open Book Award nominee. She’s also the author of Listen, We All Bleed, a PEN/Galbraith- nominated essay collection, and Awabi, a duet of short stories, winner of the Digging Press Chapbook Award. Her work appears in Adroit, Arcturus, Black Warrior Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Literary Hub, Litro, and Permafrost and has won recognition in the Best of the Net, Aeon Award, and Eyelands Flash Fiction competitions.