Deb: Surprise, Syncopation, and Sadness

“The most difficult part of writing,” says Linda Gregerson, “is
contriving a way to be open to surprise. Not surprise in general, of course:
that’s merely another kind of sameness. But the right surprise: the realignment
of attention or the rip in consciousness that will advance the argument or the

A 2007 National Book Award finalist and a recent Guggenheim
Fellow, Linda Gregerson will be featured in two 49 Writers events this
weekend: a Synergies program with Arlitia Jones on Saturday at 7 pm at Out
North Art House, and a workshop called Poetic Line.
“Of all the terrific American poets working today,”
says poet and critic Dan Chiasson, “Gregerson
is best at complex, disabused acts of empathy. Probably no poet so smart
(Gregerson is also a leading scholar of the English Renaissance) dares to take
people and sadness so seriously.” 
In Gregerson’s workshop, participants will examine contrasting
uses of the poetic line in poems by contemporary English-language poets. They’ll
reflect on what makes a strong poetic line and how an understanding of poetic
line can enhance their own writing and reading. “I’m wary of anything that
seems to mystify the writing process and tend to prefer the most matter-of-fact
accounts of the writer’s work,” she says.
Gregerson is the Caroline Walker Bynum
Distinguished University Professor of English Language and Literature at
the University of Michigan,
where she teaches creative writing and Renaissance literature. She’s also the
recipient of the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Award and four Pushcart
Prizes, among many other honors and fellowships. Her poems have appeared
in The New Yorker, The Atlantic
Monthly, Poetry, Granta, The Paris Review, The Kenyon
Review, The Best American Poetry
, among other journals and anthologies.
At Saturday’s Synergies event, Gregerson will read from her fifth
collection of poems, The Selvage. The event also features the debut of a
one-act play, The Children of Light, by Arlitia Jones. The reading and performance
will be followed by a book signing and no-host after-party. The event is
free but donations are encouraged.
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