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Sat, Mar 12



The Punctum & The Phosphorus

Seminar with Atsuro Riley

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The Punctum & The Phosphorus
The Punctum & The Phosphorus

Time & Location

Mar 12, 2022, 10:00 AM

Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA

About the event

We will discuss a selection of poems and other literary works (from the dead and the living), on the lookout for the ‘punctum’ and the ‘phosphorus’ —— the words, phrases, musical moves  and formal choices that make the work indelible.

The lenses and touchstones of our discussion will be the punctum vs. studium concept, formulated by Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida, and the William Carlos Williams quote from     In the American Grain:

                               “It has been my wish to draw from every source one thing,

                                the strange phosphorus of the life. . .”

We will consider examples from writers like Gwendolyn Brooks, Frank Stanford, Jamaica Kincaid, Tillie Olson, Grace Paley, Les Murray, James Agee, Tyehimba Jess, Diane Seuss, Dana Levin. . .among others.

Atsuro Riley is the author of Heard-Hoard (University of Chicago Press), which has been longlisted for PEN America’s Voelcker Poetry Award, named a Boston Globe “Best Book of 2021”,  listed among the year’s “10 Top Books” by KCRW’s Bookworm, and awarded the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola prize.

Riley’s first book Romey’s Order received the Whiting Award, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, The Believer Poetry Award, and the Witter Bynner Award from the Library of Congress.

Brought up in the South Carolina lowcountry, he lives in San Francisco.

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