Tag Archives: Denise Jarrott

Gary Snyder Reading

image by Tim Mahoney

Gary Snyder reading, image by Tim Mahoney

Poet Gary Snyder read on September 17, 2014 at the University Art Center. This event was attended by English Department Communications intern Tim Mahoney, who had this to share:

Last week, CSU’s English Department invited renowned author, Gary Snyder, to campus for a reading of his latest work. While I was annoyed that I had missed the turn for the University Center for the Arts, instinctively heading towards the library (where I spend many of my nights), I was excited that this visit was not strictly for business.

I’ve always enjoyed attending the readings sponsored by the English Department. Our reading series draws many talented authors to campus to share their fiction, non-fiction, or poetry with students, faculty, and the Fort Collins community. This semester, we were lucky enough to have Gary Snyder come and read from his new volume of poetry, beautifully entitled, This Present Moment. Before he began his reading, we were told that the event was to be moved to a larger auditorium to accommodate the large number of people in attendance. There was a slight delay as the ushers clambered to set up the new venue, and move the audience row by row to the new location, but the move was quick and seamless. Although I heard a few groans from some of the patrons, as they gathered their things and prepared to move down the hall, it was amazing to see so many people come out and show their support for the English Department’s reading series. Soon after everyone was settled, Snyder was welcomed to an uproarious applause and the reading was underway.

Gary Snyder reading, image by Tim Mahoney

Gary Snyder reading, image by Tim Mahoney

Snyder, who was immortalized in Jack Kerouac’s novel The Dharma Bums, and who participated in the historic Six Gallery Reading — which launched the Beat Generation Movement — took the stage to read selections from his latest volume including poems about his college sweetheart, his late wife, the beauty and destructive nature of forest fires, Indian marital arrangements, relaxation, and life’s many paths.

He opened with the poem dedicated to his college sweetheart, reminiscing about the time he spent with her, perfectly capturing the wonderful power of nostalgia and past love. His next poem, “Off the Trail,” dedicated to his late wife Carole, took us even deeper into that strangely wonderful feeling of remembrance. His ability to look back at his life with such clarity and grace moved me in ways that might have been missed had I only read his poems in print.

No path will get you there, we’re off the trail,
You and I, and we chose it!
~Gary Snyder, “Off the Trail”

Gary Snyder reading, image by Sarah Sloane

Gary Snyder reading, image by Sarah Sloane

Hearing poetry read has a completely different feel; the author’s voice and tone enhance the words. To fully experience a poem, I need to hear it performed. Snyder’s performance of his work was spectacular to say the least; his voice, breaths, and personality all contributed to an experience that cannot be contained on paper. I left the auditorium that night a true enthusiast of his work.

I recommend that every English major should attend these readings. It was incredible to hear Snyder’s work, and to see him perform his poetry. Sitting there with friends, classmates, and professors, as well members of the larger community, I couldn’t help but be moved by Snyder’s poetry and his passion for life, nature, and love of living in the present moment.

Gary Snyder singing books, image by Tim Mahoney

Gary Snyder singing books, image by Tim Mahoney

Next reading in the Creative Writing Reading Series: Writers’ Harvest with Ira Sukrungruang and Sasha Steensen, Poetry and Prose, University Center for the Arts, Museum, Thursday October 23rd at 7:30 p.m.

Sponsors of the Reading Series include the English Department and Creative Writing Program at Colorado State University, Organization of Graduate Student Writers through ASCSU, Mike Liggett, Tae Nosaka, and the Poudre River Library District.

All events are free and open to the public. For additional information e-mail andrewnmangan@gmail.com. For a full listing of 2014-2015 Creative Writing Reading series events, please visit: http://english.colostate.edu/docs/reading-series-poster.pdf

Faculty Profile: Camille Dungy

Camille Dungy is author of Smith Blue (Southern Illinois University Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Book Prize, Suck on the Marrow (Red Hen Press, 2010), and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (Red Hen Press, 2006).

Dungy is editor of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (UGA, 2009), co-editor of From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great (Persea, 2009), and assistant editor of Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (University of Michigan Press, 2006). Dungy has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Cave Canem, the Dana Award, and Bread Loaf.

She is a two-time recipient of the Northern California Book Award (2010 and 2011), a Silver Medal Winner in the California Book Award (2011), and a two-time NAACP Image Award nominee (2010 and 2011). She was a 2011 finalist for the Balcones Prize, and her books have been shortlisted for the 2011 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, the PEN Center USA 2007 Literary Award, and the Library of Virginia 2007 Literary Award. Recently a Professor in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University, Dungy is now a Professor in the English Department at Colorado State University. Her poems and essays have been published widely in anthologies and print and online journals.

~Bio excerpted from Camille Dungy’s website


Faculty Profile: Camille Dungy
by Denise Jarrott

How would you describe your work in the English Department?
I teach creative writing and literature classes, mostly focusing on poetry. Right now I’m teaching a poetry writing workshop and a course on Recent US Poetry. Over the course of the semester, seven poets will visit our class either in person or via teleconference. We’re all looking forward to the chance to speak directly with some of today’s hottest authors.

What brought you to CSU?
I am excited about the university’s commitment to serving the students of the state of Colorado. I’ve been away a long time, but I’m actually a Colorado native, and I am happy to be a part of keeping this a vibrant place. I am also thrilled by the engagement of so many of my colleagues in questions directly related to the environment and sustainability as well as history, family, and great literature.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I am happy every day that I am able to wake up and think about what I love best: good writing.

Why do you think English and the Humanities are important?  English and the Humanities teach us to think critically, to read carefully (and not only text on the page), and engage empathy. In short, English and the Humanities help form the rudimentary components of engaged citizenship.

What inspired you to pursue a degree in English and teaching?
Why not do what I love?

What had the greatest influence on your career path?
I was raised in a house that valued books, that valued education, and that valued compassion. My education also supported these interests, and so here I am, passing those values along.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A writer. (And also a doctor and a piano player and an athlete and probably a lot of other things. Good thing all those pursuits, which require focus and practice and attention to detail, supported my main goal of learning how to be a better writer).

Describe your experience on your recent sabbatical and how you will bring what you learned during that time to CSU.
I did take a leave last semester to write, and I traveled to Alaska, California, London, Paris, and Seattle in pursuit of my subjects. The love of travel, the engagement with a world that is larger than our neighborhoods (but also amazingly smaller: I met a woman in Barrow, Alaska who had met her husband at restaurant 2 blocks from the restaurant where I met my husband, and when I was in Paris I had lunch with a friend from the States) helps me to read the world better. Reading the world better helps me read books better. Reading books better helps me write and teach books better.

What moment in the classroom stands out as most memorable?
I have been teaching full time since 1997. If I had one most memorable moment it would diminish the many other wonderful (and sometime challenging) moments I’ve had in all those years in the classroom.

What is your favorite thing about teaching?
I love talking about what I love to people who are open to the possibility of learning new things about themselves and the world.

What advice would you give a student taking classes in the English department?  Be open to the possibility of learning new things about yourself and the world.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
As a person who is open to learning new things about myself and the world, I get advice all the time. I’ve to categorize this advice in terms of its relevance to me, but I’ve also learned to revisit advice because things that don’t seem relevant on Day 1 might be really useful on Day 121.


What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I’m raising a daughter who is smart and self assured and kind to others, and that makes me quite proud. I also have published several of my own books and edited anthologies that represent a wide range of voices, and that these words are out of my head (where so many of our ideas linger) and in the world makes me quite proud. But, I don’t tend to dwell too much in pride. Every day is a new day, and each new day requires more writing, more parenting, more living actively in the world.

What is the last great piece of writing you read? What are you currently reading?
I read for a living. I read all the time. Two days ago I would have told you the best book I’ve read recently was the book I read two days ago (The White Pages, by Martha Collins), but yesterday I taught and so reread portions of The Apple Trees at Olema by Robert Hass, which is a book I adore, and tonight I have a stack of books on my desk including Yona Harvey’s Hemming the Water and Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light by Jane Brox, both of which I am really excited about.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I love to cook. I love to be outside, hiking or walking or just being. I love to be with my family. I love to read, which is and is not work for me. I am also turning into a bit of a DIY gal, and have a long list of projects for the house (which may or may not ever get done), including building a cold frame and hanging barn doors in a room that needs a divider.

What is your favorite word and why?
Lathe. Just listen to it. A gorgeous word. It’s round and cylindrical, a word that sounds like what it does. Lathe. I love that word.

Which three people, living or dead, would you invite to dinner?
I just had this conversation with someone! I invited Octavia Butler, one of my all time favorite writers (Parable of the Sower and Kindred are my two favorite books). Also Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley because I am amazed by the mind that invented Frankenstein while pregnant (which, I think, is fascinating enough even without the fact that the book itself is a marvel). And maybe…the third person is always the tricky one…perhaps my maternal grandmother, who I believe would get a kick out of meeting those women and who would be glad to teach them a thing or two and maybe recite some poems.

Gary Snyder Bio by Denise Jarrott

image by Jill Salahub

image by Jill Salahub

Gary Snyder Bio
by Denise Jarrott

The relentless complexity of the world is off to the side of the trail. For hunters and herders trails weren’t always so useful. For a forager, the path is not where you walk for long. Wild herbs, camas bulbs, quail, dye plants, are away from the path. The whole range of items that fulfill your needs is out there. We must wander through it to learn and memorize the field-rolling, crinkled, eroded, gullied, ridged (wrinkled like the brain) – holding the map in mind. ~From the essay “On the Path, Off the Trail” by Gary Snyder

Very few poets capture and engage with their landscape, both their physical and spiritual homes, like Gary Snyder. From the fog-shrouded Cascade Mountains of his home landscape of the Pacific Rim to the mysterious resonance of Japan, Snyder inhabits and converses with his world, and invites the reader to make a home in the world he both reflects and creates.

Gary Snyder is known among the Beat-generation and San Francisco Renaissance poets of the 1950s and 60s, alongside Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and other voices of their time. Those familiar with Jack Kerouac’s novel The Dharma Bums will recognize Snyder as one of the characters, according to Kerouac, an “old-fashioned saint of the desert”, but also an anarchist, a poet steeped in the natural world of his native Pacific Northwest and adopted Far East.

Born in San Francisco and raised in and around Portland and Seattle, Snyder was immersed in the natural world from a very young age. Following a severe burn accident as a child that involved a significant time in bed and unable to work on his family farm, Snyder’s mother a “very high-strung, neurotic person with literary ambitions” brought him books from the Seattle library, and from that early literary influence, Snyder continued to read and write and question the influence of white society on the local native cultures and subsequently, the natural world he had, and would, come to know.

Snyder later attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but did not venture far from his beloved wilderness. He held jobs as a logger, seaman, and fire lookout for the U.S. Forest Service. In addition to degrees in literature and anthropology, Snyder also studied linguistics at Indiana University and Oriental languages at the University of California at Berkeley. It was in Bay Area that Snyder became involved with the poets who would define Beat poetry.

Flowing from his work on the trail crew at Yosemite National Park and involvement and practice in Zen Buddhism in Japan and India, Snyder began to write the poems he would be known for. His first book, Riprap and his translation of the poems of Han Shan, or Cold Mountain, were his first notable works in poetry. He is currently the author of sixteen collections of poetry including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Turtle Island.

In addition to being an award-winning poet and translator, Snyder has also written several books nonfiction and essays such as Earth House Hold and The Old Ways. Currently, he teaches at the University of California at Davis, where he has been on faculty since 1985. He has also held positions as a visiting lecturer at several universities and facilitated several writing workshops and was the former chair of the California Arts Council.


Gary Snyder will read from his poems at the University Center for the Arts on Wednesday September 17 at 7:30 pm.



Bio Bibliography:

Aronowitz, Al, Everyday Beat, excepted from Chapter 14: The Dharma Bum http://www.everyday-beat.org/everyday/essay/snyder/ accessed online, September 8, 2014.

Gary Snyder biography: The Poetry Foundation http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/gary-snyder

Snyder, Gary, “On the Path, Off the Trail” from The Practice of the Wild North Point Press, 1990.

Weinberger, Eliot, “The Art of Poetry No. 74”, Gary Snyder interviewed by Eliot Weinberger, http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1323/the-art-of-poetry-no-74-gary-snyder

Introducing Fall 2014 English Department Communications Interns

From Jill Salahub, English Department Communications Coordinator: “I am so happy to introduce the English Department’s Communications Interns for Fall 2014, Denise Jarrott and Timothy Mahoney. Just like the position description stated, these two are creative and enthusiastic CSU students with good communication and writing skills who are going to help us tell the story of the English Department.

I’m looking forward to facilitating their dynamic mix of undergraduate and graduate, creative nonfiction and poetry, interest in current events and an appreciation of history. Some of the projects they are currently working on: faculty profiles, a department history, articles about department readings and events, building an upcoming events page for the department’s blog that will include things happening on campus and beyond, and continuing our Humans of Eddy project (even as those Humans are temporarily out of Eddy).”

timmahoneyFrom intern Tim Mahoney: “I was born in Denver, Colorado and came to CSU in the fall of 2011. When I was applying for colleges, I felt eighteen years was not enough time to experience everything Colorado has to offer, so I decided Fort Collins would become my new home.

I originally came to CSU as a construction management major, but during my first semester I quickly learned my true passion was English. I had taken 20th Century Fiction as part of the core curriculum, and instantly fell in love with the intellectual, and emotional joyride, that is reading and writing. I started off reading classic fiction texts in my lower division survey courses, but soon found my passion in creative non-fiction. I began to write creative non-fiction, and read authors such as David Sedaris, Anne Lamott, and Mike Birbiglia who have the natural talent of extracting the profound from the ordinary.

This is my last semester at CSU, and while I am nervous to leave the place I consider my home, and the people I consider my family, I am excited to get out and finally answer the question: What do I want to do with an English degree? I have been asked this question many times, and my answers have certainly varied over the years. Despite me not having an exact idea of what I will use my degree for, I am sure that the communication, analysis, and critical thinking skills I have learned as an English major will serve me well in my career.

I have a firm belief that there are lessons to be learned every day, but sometimes it takes the close eye, and critical mind of an English major, to know exactly what that lesson is.”

denisejarrottDenise Jarrott is a transplant from Iowa and an MFA candidate in poetry. She grew up in a small resort town in Northwest Iowa and received her BA in English from the University of Iowa. She was an employee at Prairie Lights bookstore and an undergraduate research fellow for WritingUniversity.org, where she also wrote occasional book reviews. Her writing has appeared in Petri Press, Rescue Press, Dollfeeder, and is forthcoming in Dusie. Her thesis-in-progress, a collection of poems and lyric essays tentatively titled Red Dwell mediates on the intersections of eros and architectural space.

Aside from writing, Denise is a tireless flag-waver for libraries and independent bookstores. She plans to pursue a Master’s in Library Science following her MFA. She also occasionally paints watercolors of distinctive-looking people and ephemeral text.

Welcome, Tim and Denise!

Humans of Eddy: Abby Kerstetter

For our first Humans of Eddy (who aren’t currently in Eddy) post this fall, intern Denise Jarrott spoke with fellow MFA student Abby Kerstetter, and has this to share:

“Abby leads dynamic life in the CSU English department. You may have seen her tutoring in the Writing Center, interning at the Colorado Review, or in one of the many places that have been the temporary camps for Eddy in the remodeling phase.

A 2nd year MFA student in poetry, Abby is making the most of her time at CSU by engaging in several facets within the English department.”

abbykerstetterWhich classes are you taking this semester?
In addition to Poetry Workshop with Sasha Steensen, I’m taking Word and Image and Teaching Creative Writing with Todd Mitchell. I’m also an intern at the Colorado Review.

What is it like working as an intern for the Colorado Review?
I’m doing some copyediting and proofreading. I had some experience doing this for a publishing company in New York when I lived back east at Scholastic. I’m also typesetting one of the books and designing the spring cover of the Colorado Review.

What else are you up to this semester?
I’m an assistant to Dan Beachy-Quick and I’m also volunteering at Wolverine Farm. It was an internship that started last summer.

What advice would you give incoming English majors?
Seek opportunities and get practical skills. Look for opportunities in your field. A lot of undergrads are surprised when they graduate and just have a degree. There is education for personal development, being in a classroom, education for education’s sake, then there is practical experience and that’s a really important thing to realize, that you do more than your degree.

What is your biggest priority right now?
I’m looking forward to focusing on my poetry as opposed to seeking real world experience, which is what I’ve been doing in the past.