Come see my partner Britt and two other great writers at “Our Work and Why We Do It” programed by writer in residence Art Middleton!
This evening in the series presents three writers whose work defies easy categorization. In creating their poems, stories, and performances, they each engage with the materiality of language, it’s mutability and durable testament, to find unique ways to trouble their ideas and provoke new ways of seeing. Layers of history, global and personal, inflect their work in lyric, in response--whether to the films of Maya Deren or the photographs of Francesca Woodman--and determine the form their narratives may take, on the page, stage, or canvas. Rather than one clear throughline between the writers, Arnold (visiting from Providence, RI for this evening!), Billmeyer-Finn, and thúy create a lattice of forms that provoke, move, and resonate long after reading them.
Mary-Kim Arnold is the author Litany for the Long Moment, which was awarded the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Prize, and named a 2019 Honor Title for the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature. Her full-length poetry collection, The Fish & The Dove, is forthcoming from Noemi Press in 2020. She lives in Rhode Island and teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program at Brown University.
Britt Billmeyer-Finn is a poet, playwright and social worker living in western Massachusetts. She is the author of the full length book, the meshes (Black Radish Books 2015). In 2015, she directed her first play, the meshes an iteration in 2 acts at SAFEhouse arts in SF. Her chapbook Slabs (Timeless Infinite Light 2017) is set in pockets, containers, near water, in the body and is about queer love. Britt is curious about queer magic and relational healing. She is the co-curator of the Northampton, MA based living room reading series, The But Also.
lê thi diem thúy is a writer and solo performance artist. She is the author of the novel, The Gangster We Are All Looking For, and the solo performance works, Mua He Do Lua/Red Fiery Summer, the bodies between us, and Carte Postale. She has been awarded fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and United States Artists. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Hampshire College.
Our Work and Why We Do It is the Forbes Library’s Writer in Residence reading series. This series is interested in exploring the ways in which the written word may create and sustain social worlds through inquiry, practice, experimentation, story and lyric. The dynamic of the public library, open and variegated in its uses, is the ideal space for these questions, as it can so directly reflect the desires of a community that contributes to it's thriving, operating as an archive of those needs. Regardless of genre, this series believes in the potential for deliberation that writing may produce, a space within the information saturated world we share where we might consider possibilities and deeper questions just beyond what we know.
The series features writers of prose, poetry, nonfiction, and memoir, and beneath these broad categories, constellations of subgenres and forms. The series is motivated by an interest in understanding how writing relates to work, to a sense of a collective project that seeks to respond to the political and social forms that produce it. Against dithering, the series hopes to affirm the role of creative written work as a measure of response to the exigencies that shape our world.
Curated and moderated by Forbes writer in residence Art Middleton, the series meets in the Coolidge Museum.