Thomas Gardner Research Talk
Lunch is provided
Title: Sundays: Lyric Essays
Abstract: I will be reading from the manuscript of a new book of prose poems or lyric essays, due out from Tupelo Press in 2019/2020. Building on my 2014 book Poverty Creek Journal, these 52 short meditations, written on consecutive Sundays from August 2017-August 2018, move out from particulars of the day (weather, landscape, friends and family) to the various shapes desire takes as it reaches toward the world and beyond it and then comes undone. What do we find in such spaces, these short pieces ask. How does the mind move there> What comes alive in brokenness? Along with reading selections from my book, I'll speak briefly about the connections between this creative project and a more formal academic book I'm completing examining the way such artists as Terrence Malikc, Annie Dillard, Czeslaw Milosz, and Marilynne Robinson use lyri modes of thinking to open up and explore a series of theological issues.
Bio: Thomas Gardner is Alumni Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech. He has published five books of literary criticism, the most recent being A Door Ajar: Contemporary Writers and Emily Dickinson (Oxford, 2006) and John in the Company of Poets: The Gospel in Literary Imagination (Baylor, 2011). His creative work includes two plays, Ear, and I, and Silence (2004) and Eurydice (2006); a book of poems, The Mime, Speaking (1992); and most recently a collection of lyric essays or spiritual improvisations entitled Poverty Creek Journal. The entries in this year-long running journal, mostly focused on morning runs in the nearby Jefferson National Forest, reflect on the boday, poetry, theology, family and grief. He has held Guggenheim, Fulbright, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships.