The English Department invites its alumni and Twin Cities book lovers to this reading celebrating the recent publication of Dr. Matthew Batt's memoir, SUGARHOUSE, and Dr. Leslie Adrienne Miller's newest poetry collection, Y.
Friday, September 21, 2012 - Friday, September 21, 2012
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
St. Paul Campus Map
Free and Open to the Public
At this reading, the English Department will celebrate the recent publication of new books by two English Department faculty: Dr. Matthew Batt's new memoir Sugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crack House into Our Home Sweet Home (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and Dr. Leslie Miller's newest poetry collection, Y (Graywolf Press).
Sugarhouse is an improbably funny account of how the purchase and restoration of a disaster of a fixer-upper saves a young marriage. When a season of ludicrous loss tests the mettle of their marriage, Matthew Batt and his wife decide not to call it quits. They set their sights instead on the purchase of a dilapidated house in the Sugarhouse section of Salt Lake City. With no homesteading experience and a full-blown quarter-life crisis on their hands, these perpetual grad students/waiters/nonprofiteers decide to seek salvation through renovation, and do all they can to turn a former crack house into a home. Dizzy with despair, doubt, and the side effects of using the rough equivalent of napalm to detoxify their house, they enter into full-fledged adulthood with power tools in hand. Heartfelt and joyous, Sugarhouse is the story of how one couple conquers adversity and creates an addition to their family, as well as their home.
A natural outgrowth of Miller's 2007 poetry collection, The Resurrection Trade (Graywolf Press), and its extended meditation on the relationship between science and art focused very specifically through a series of medical images of pregnant women, Y focuses on the child. Y extends the meditation on science and art, but in this collection, the subject matter and research materials include a more eclectic mixture of sources from the biological and social sciences on the Y chromosome; the social and cognitive development of children's language acquisition; the fabled "wild children" of Germany and France; the rift between theology and science that Darwin's theories introduce into Western thought and subsequent disciplinary divisions; some materials on the history and training of boy sopranos, a science of its own that links male physical and spiritual development; as well as historical and contemporary materials on the "reading" of the human face. Taken altogether, the poems in Y attempt to find connections between and among these areas of study as they probe the elusive mind/body, nurture/nature dichotomies in human male development--areas which cannot be seen or understood because they are dynamic and unstable, but they can, through metaphor's momentary magic, be glimpsed.
Copies of both books will be available for sale by the University of St. Thomas Bookstore.