Open Field Reading Series archive

Fall 2016

Phoebe Gloeckner

October 10, 2016

Phoebe Gloeckner is a graphic novelist, whose 2002 book The Diary of a Teenage Girl has been praised by Salon.com as "one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender, beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America." Legendary cartoonist R. Crumb called the story "Minnie's Third Love," published in her collection A Child's Life and Other Stories, one of the "comicbook masterpieces of all time."
In 2015, The Diary of a Teenage Girl was released as a major motion picture by Sony Pictures Classic, starring Bel Powley and Kristen Wiig. Gloeckner has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and from the University of Michigan, where she is Associate Professor in the Stamps School of Art and Design.

Rachel Richardson

November 2, 2016

Rachel Richardson's newest book of poetry, Hundred-Year Wave, juxtaposes the grandeur of Melville's Captain Ahab and his quest for the White Whale with the quotidian moments of contemporary life. It flows like an ocean current through the subjects of marriage, parenthood, whales, Sylvia Plath, and the ocean itself.

Richardson, also the author of the 2011 collection Copperhead, has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford University. Her poetry and prose has appeared in The New York Times, Guernica, New England Review, Kenyon Review Online, the Poetry Foundation website, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan.

Claire Vaye Watkins

December 5, 2016

Claire Vaye Watkins, Guggenheim Fellow and Assistant Professor in the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program, has authored two books of fiction. Her first, the short story collection Battleborn, won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. The second, her debut novel Gold Fame Citrus, has won wide critical acclaim. The LA Times writes that "the prose in Gold Fame Citrus is stunningly beautiful, even when—especially when—Watkins is describing the badlands that Southern California has become...even in the book's darkest moments, it's impossible to turn away."


Winter 2016

Eileen Pollack

January 25, 2016

Eileen Pollack is a writer whose most recent novel, Breaking and Entering, was awarded the Grub Street National Book Prize and named a New York Times Editor's Choice selection. She also is the author of Paradise, New York, a novel, and two collections of short fiction, In the Mouth and The Rabbi in the Attic, as well as a work of creative nonfiction called Woman Walking Ahead: In Search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull and two innovative textbooks, Creative Nonfiction and Creative Composition. Her latest book, The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boy's Club was recently released by Beacon Press. She teaches on the faculty of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan.

Jamaal May

February 8, 2016

Jamaal May was born in 1982 in Detroit, Michigan, where he taught poetry in public schools and worked as a freelance audio engineer. His first book, Hum, received the American Library Association's Notable Book Award, an NAACP Image Award nomination, and was named one The Boston Globe's Best Books of 2013.
In 2014 Jamaal received several honors including the Spirit of Detroit Award, The J. Howard and Barbara M.
J. Wood Prize in Poetry, as well as fellowships from the Rose O'Neil Literary House, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. Recent work appears on NYTimes.com, The New Republic, Poetry Daily, and Ploughshares. Poems have also been anthologized in Please Excuse this Poem: 100 Poems for the Next Generation, 2015 Pushcart Prize Anthology, and elsewhere. Jamaal is currently a Kenyon Review Fellow and co-directs Organic Weapon Arts with Tarfia Faizullah. This reading is part of the NCTE African American Read In.

Rodrigo Toscano

March 7, 2016

Rodrigo Toscano's newest book of poetry, Explosion Rocks Springfield, is due out from Fence Books in spring 2016. His previous books include Deck of Deeds, Collapsible Poetics Theater, To Leveling Swerve, Platform, Partisans, and The Disparities. Toscano has received a New York State Fellowship in Poetry, and was a National Poetry Series selection. His work has been widely translated and anthologized; his radio pieces have aired on stations across the country. Toscano works for the Labor Institute in conjunction with the United Steelworkers and the National Institute for Environmental Health Science.

Chris Tysh

April 11, 2016

Poet, playwright, and translator Chris Tysh has been on the faculty of the English department at Wayne State University, Detroit since 1989, where she teaches creative writing and women's studies. She is a recipient of a 2003 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a 2010 Kresge Arts Fellowship. Her latest publications are Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic (Les Figues, 2013); Molloy: The Flip Side (BlazeVox, 2012); and Night Scales: A Fable for Klara K (United Artists, 2010). She recently won a WSU Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award for Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic. She is the 2015-2016 recipient of Wayne State's Murray Jackson Creative Scholar in the Arts Award, the highest award presented to a creative artist at Wayne State.


Fall 2015

Kiese Laymon at Bernath Auditorium

September 14, 2015

Kiese Laymon is an American writer, editor and associate professor of English and Africana Studies at Vassar College. Author of Long Division and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, Laymon's work deals with American racism, feminism, family, masculinity, geography, Hip-hop and Southern black life. His provocations, essays, and other works of short fiction appear on his blog, Cold Drank. Laymon has written essays and stories for numerous online publications, including his work as a contributing editor at Gawker.

Pete Brown

September 21, 2015

After early success as a leading British beat poet, Pete Brown joined forces with Cream, the innovative blues/rock band, writing the lyrics for many of their major hits, including "Sunshine Of Your Love," "White Room," "I Feel Free" and "Politician." Many of these songs are now standards.

Tarfia Faizullah

November 9, 2015

Bangladeshi-American poet, editor, and educator Tarfia Faizullah was born in 1980 in Brooklyn, NY and raised in west Texas. She received an MFA in poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University and is the author of Seam (SIU 2014), which U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey calls "beautiful and necessary," as well as Register of Eliminated Villages, (Graywolf 2017). She co-directs the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press and Video Series with Jamaal May, and lives in Detroit, MI. She is the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor of Poetry in the Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan.


Winter 2015

Brandon Brown

February 22, 2015

Brandon Brown is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Flowering Mall, and many chapbooks, including Tooth Fairy and Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. Since 1998, he has lived in the Bay Area, where he has programmed literary events, and written about art and culture for Art Practical and Open Space, the blog and magazine of the SFMOMA. He is a co-editor at Krupskaya, organizes with the Bay Area Public School, and lives in Oakland, CA.

Robin Silbergleid

March 9, 2015

Robin Silbergleid is the author of the memoir Texas Girl and two chapbooks of poems Pas de Deux and Frida Kahlo, My Sister. The Baby Book, a collection of poems about infertility and pregnancy loss, is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press in 2015. Her poems, essays, and scholarship can be found in a number of venues, online and in print. Born and raised in Illinois, she is currently an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Michigan State University.

Thisbe Nissen

March 30, 2015

Thisbe Nissen is the author of two novels, The Good People of New York and Osprey Island, and a story collection, Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night. Thisbe's fiction has been published widely and anthologized in The Iowa Award: The Best Stories 1991-2000 and Best American Mystery Stories 2008. She is currently Associate Professor of Fiction in the writing program at Western Michigan University.

Catherine Wagner

April 6, 2015

Catherine Wagner's collections of poems include Nervous Device, My New Job, Macular Hole, Miss America; and a dozen chapbooks, including Imitating. She has performed widely in the U.S., England and Ireland; her poems and essays have appeared in Abraham Lincoln, Lana Turner, New American Writing, 1913, How2, Cambridge Literary Review, Soft Targets, Action, Yes, and other magazines. She is associate professor of English at Miami University in Ohio.


Fall 2014

Katherine Bode-Lang

September 22, 2014

Katherine Bode-Lang earned her MFA in poetry at Penn State University, where she taught creative writing and composition and is now an IT Trainer in the Office of Research Protections. She lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband, Andrew. Her first full-length collection, The Reformation, is the winner of the 2014 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize, chosen by Stephen Dunn, and forthcoming in Fall 2014.

David Rothman – Writing Workshop

September 25, 2014

David Rothman is the Director of the Poetry Concentration with an Emphasis on Form in the new low-residency MFA program at Western State College of Colorado, and also teaches at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. He is Founding Editor and Publisher of Conundrum Press, and served for six years as Headmaster of Crested Butte Academy, an independent school in Colorado. He is President of the Robinson Jeffers Association and sits on a number of non-profit boards.

Laura Mullen

October 6, 2014

Laura Mullen is a Professor at Louisiana State University. She is the author of five books: three collections of poetry— The Surface, After I Was Dead , and Subject —and two hybrid texts, The Tales of Horror (Kelsey Street Press 1999) and Murmur (future poem books 2007). Prizes for her poetry include Ironwood 's Stanford Prize, and she has been awarded a Board of Regents ATLAS grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Rona Jaffe Award, among other honors.

Roy Mash

October 13, 2014

Roy Mash writes a deliciously engaging and clever sort of object poem. With an exhilarating precision, his poems uncover those illuminating perceptions that lie buried beneath the commonplace. – Steve Kowit

Roy Mash's insightful, touching, and wholly delightful Buyer's Remorse is a celebration of the non-epic and unheroic, ... the inglorious lives we seem to have wound up with by mistake—not at all what we'd have chosen, but ... all in all, pretty damned fine. – Charles Harper Webb

Tung-Hui Hi

October 27, 2014

Poet and media scholar Tung-Hui Hu was born in San Francisco and educated at Princeton University, the University of Michigan, and the University of California-Berkeley. His collections of poetry include The Book of Motion (2003); Mine (2007), which won the Eisner Prize; and Greenhouses, Lighthouses (2013). He is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan.

Benjamin Busch

November 3, 2014

Following his graduation from Vassar College Benjamin Busch served as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps deploying for two combat tours in Iraq. His written work has been published in Harper's and was notable in the 2010 Best American Essays anthology. His photographs have been featured in Five Points, Connecticut Review, Photography Quarterly, and War, Literature, & the Arts. As an actor, he is best known for his appearances in Homicide, The Wire, Generation Kill, and The Beast. His first film, Sympathetic Details, came out in 2008 winning numerous international film awards, and his new film as writer/director, BRIGHT, was released in January 2011. His 2012 memoir Dust to Dust is a Michigan Notable Book.


Winter 2014

Cody Walker and Kinyel Ferguson

January 27, 2014

Author of Shuffle and Breakdown (The Waywiser Press, 2008) and co-editor of Alive at the Center: An Anthology of Poems from the Pacific Northwest (Ooligan Press, 2013). Poems, stories, and essays published in The Best American Poetry, Parnassus, Shenandoah, Slate, The Yale Review, The Kenyon Review, Salon, Subtropics, The New Yorker, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. Kinyel Ferguson is currently completing her M.A. in English with an emphasis in creative writing at WSU.

Ben Stroud and Stephen Snyder

February 3, 2014

Ben Stroud's story collection Byzantium will be published by Graywolf in July. The collection won the 2012 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Bakeless Fiction Prize and was selected as a Publisher's Weekly Best Summer Book for 2013. Ben's stories have appeared in Harper's Magazine, One Story, Electric Literature, Boston Review, and The American Scholar, among other places, and have been anthologized in New Stories from the South and Best American Mystery Stories. Originally from Texas, he holds a BA in English and History from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA in Fiction and Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature from the University of Michigan. He has received residencies from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and has taught literature and creative writing at universities in the US and Germany. Currently, Ben is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Toledo. Stephen Snyder is a current English major and creative writing student at Wayne State.

Naomi Long Madgett and Kathy Harrison

February 17, 2014

Detroit Poet Laureate Naomi Long Madgett has been well recognized for her contributions as poet, publisher/editor, educator, and most recently the 2012 Kresge Eminent Artist Award. She is the author of ten books of poems, the first published when she was only seventeen years old. Her early out-of-print books are now available from Michigan State University Press under the title, Remembrances of Spring: Collected Early Poems. Among her most recent books of poems, all available from Lotus Press, Inc., are Octavia: Guthrie and Beyond and Connected Islands: New and Selected Poems. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and 185 anthologies, both here and in Europe. Octavia and Other Poems (Third World Press) was co-winner of the Creative Achievement Award (College Language Association) and was made required reading in all the public high schools in Detroit. It was also the basis of a documentary film, A Poet's Voice (Vander Films), which won the Gold Apple Award of Excellence from the National Educational Media Network. Naomi published her autobiography, Pilgrim Journey, in 2006. She is the editor of two anthologies, including the groundbreaking Adam of Ife: Black Women in Praise of Black Men, to which 55 African American women contributed positive poems. She also wrote the insightful introduction which puts into historical perspective the problems of many contemporary black men. Kathy Harrison is currently taking creative writing courses at Wayne State University.

Robert Fanning and Alan Harris

March 24, 2014

Robert Fanning is the author of American Prophet (Marick Press), The Seed Thieves (Marick Press) and Old Bright Wheel (Ledge Press Poetry Award). His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, The Atlanta Review, and other journals. A graduate of University of Michigan and Sarah Lawrence College, he is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. Fanning's writing awards include a Creative Artist Grant from ArtServe Michigan, the Inkwell Poetry Award, and the Foley Poetry Award. He lives in Mt. Pleasant, MI. with his wife Denise Whitebread Fanning, who is a sculptor and yoga instructor, and their two children. To read more of his work, visit www.robertfanning.wordpress.com. Alan Harris is currently completing his M.A. degree in English with a creative writing emphasis at WSU.


Fall 2013

Michael Paterniti and Kyle Callert

September 26, 2013

Michael Paterniti is a GQ correspondent and an eight-time National Magazine Award nominee. He is the author of Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain (Dial Press, 2000) and The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese (Dial Press, 2013). He lives in Portland, Maine. Kyle Callert is a current WSU English major and creative writing student. He is the current nonfiction editor of the Wayne Literary Review.

Thomas Lux and Vincent Perrone

October 14, 2013

Since 1975, Lux has been a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. Lux is also a core faculty member of the Warren Wilson M.F.A. Program for Writers. In 1996 he was a visiting professor at University of California, Irvine. A former Guggenheim Fellow and three times a recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lux received, in 1995, the $50,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his sixth collection, Split Horizons. His poems are featured in American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets (2006) and many other anthologies. Vincent Perrone is a current WSU English major and creative writing student. He is the editor in chief of the Wayne Literary Review.

francine j. harris and Christine Bettis

November 4, 2013

francine j. harris' first collection, allegiance, reached the number one spot on the national poetry bestseller's list and in 2013 has been a finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the PEN Open Book Award. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including recent publications in Sou'Wester, B O D Y and Southern Indiana Review. Originally from Detroit, she is a Cave Canem fellow and is the Front Street Writers Writer-in-Residence in Traverse City, Michigan for the 2013/14 school year. Christine Bettis is a current Wayne State Honors English major and creative writing student. She is also the poetry editor of the Wayne Literary Review.

Hanna Pylvainen and Joe Harris

November 25, 2013

Hanna Pylväinen is from suburban Detroit. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she was also a postgraduate Zell Fellow. She is the recipient of residencies from the MacDowell Colony and the Headlands Center for the Arts and a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her first novel, We Sinners, was published by Henry Holt in 2012. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn, where she is completing her second novel, The End of Drum Time. Most recently, she is the recipient of the 2012 Whiting Writers' Award, and the Balcones Fiction Prize. Joe Harris is currently completing his M.A. in English with an emphasis in creative writing at WSU.