Sunday, October 21, 2007

Big Wednesday

It's a Big Wednesday here in the county of Orange, beginning at UCI and continuing later down south in San Clemente.

At the UCI bookstore, novelist Marianne Wiggins, National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, will read from her new novel, "The Shadow Catcher."

In her review in The Washington Post, Wendy Smith writes:

There are passages in Marianne Wiggins's eighth novel so piercingly beautiful that I put the book down, shook my head and simply said, "Wow." She's reproduced a number of photographs in her text -- appropriately, since her subject is a photographer -- but these physical images pale in comparison to the pictures she creates with words. Buoyed by Wiggins's gorgeous prose, we soar in the very first scene, as she imagines flying over California, "on the edge, at night, after the coyotes end their braying, there's an hour after midnight when a silence drops into these canyons which persists 'til the first birdsong of morning." Before plunging into the particulars of her story, we already know that this restless, challenging author is once again asking us to contemplate the deeper meaning of our national character and destiny, the ways the American landscape has shaped us and we have shaped it...
...At the center of The Shadow Catcher is the real-life photographer Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952). Wiggins combines Curtis's experiences with the adventures of a woman she has created named Marianne Wiggins. This Marianne has written a novel about Curtis, and there are some things that trouble her about his work. His early 20th-century photographs of American Indians fixed their image as a noble, doomed race. "But they're lies," Marianne says. "They're propaganda." Curtis altered his photos to eliminate such traces of modern life as cars and clocks; his subjects were no longer roaming the plains, but "confined in high-security encampments . . . deprived of their livelihoods, forced into the manufacture of 'Indian-ized' tourist junk."

This is the first reading in this year's "UCI Bookstore Author Series." Bookstore manager Matt Astrella always puts on a great event, offering the author's new book at a discount and generally feeding the audience as well. You can expect tea and scones this time. 5 pm. The bookstore is located inside the Student Center. The event is free and open to the public.

FURTHER DOWN THE COAST, at 7pm, Casa Romantica host poets Dorianne Laux and Dana Levin.

Dorianne Laux is the author of four poetry collections and her most recent, Facts about the Moon, (finalist for the Lenore Marshall Award and the Oregon Book Award), was published by W.W. Norton in 2005. She is co-author, with Kim Addonizio, of The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. Her work has appeared in the Best of the American Poetry Review, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and has been twice included in Best American Poetry. She has been awarded with a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Laux is a Professor in the University of Oregon's Creative Writing Program.

Dana Levin 's first book, In the Surgical Theatre, was awarded the 1999 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize and went on to receive nearly every award available to first books and emerging poets. Levin has received three Pushcart Prizes, a 1999 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 2004 fellowships from the Library of Congress and the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and a 2005 Whiting Award. Levin teaches in the MFA Program at Warren Wilson College and chairs the Creative Writing, Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies Department at College of Santa Fe. Her newest book is Wedding Day.

This free reading series at Casa Romantica is in its fourth year. Casa Romantica is located at 415 Avenida Granada in San Clemente. For more information, call: (949) 498-2139


Jay River said...

Wiggins Shadow Catcher uses plausible fiction to fill in the blanks in the life of ES Curtis. BEautiful writing, and very entertaining.

More on the works of Curtis: ES Curtis Film clip

Rebel Girl said...

Thanks for the tip, Jay River.

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