Natalie Diaz, an ODU creative writing alum, is a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry for her collection “Postcolonial Love Poem” (Graywolf Press). As a finalist, she joins ODU faculty, now retired, Tim Seibles, “Fast Animal” (poetry, 2012) and Janet Peery, “The River Beyond the World” (fiction, 1996).
Diaz, who is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe, now teaches at Arizona State University.
Reading “Postcolonial” “feels like a radical political act,” wrote Sandeep Parmar in The Guardian. “It opens ‘The war ended / depending on which war you mean: those we started, / before those, millennia ago and onward, / those which started me, which I lost and won — / these ever-blooming wounds.’ ” Wounds are a recurrent image here, of “unhealing trauma,” Parmar says, “where the public body of history — the genocide of America’s Native population — encounters the private spaces of desire and loss.” Her “drawing together of personal and communal grief could not be more timely.”
Winners will be announced Nov. 18.
The Nobel Prize in Literature: To Louise Gluck, an American, announced Thursday, “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
Hampton Roads poets Bill Ayres and Amanda Gomez will give readings from their new collections in live-streamed events that everyone can attend, for free.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Ayres — a Virginia Beach writer whom readers may recognize from any of the seven area bookstores he’s worked at — reads from “What Passes for Wisdom,” in which he aims to challenge preconceptions. “I step back and look up at your height / from the shade you cast,” he writes in “When We Paid off the Mortgage.” “How can it be that I own you? / Could I own the cloud above us, / or the rain that is starting to fall?” Ayres’ poems have been published in Commonweal, The Anglican Theological Review, Hoot, The Roanoke Review and more.
The following Friday, Oct. 23, at 7, Amanda Gomez reads from “Wasting Disease.” Another author notes appreciatively her lines “I guess what I am saying is, every girl / learns to disintegrate,” in rage, and “Everywhere I stare my shadow is running.” Gomez, a Latinx poet in Norfolk, received her master’s in poetry at ODU; her work has appeared in Nimrod International Journal, North American Review, PANK, Tupelo Quarterly, and Writers Resist.
Both collections are from Finishing Line Press, a small publisher in Kentucky whose authors have won, among other awards, $50,000 fellowship grants from the Academy of American Poets.
The book “The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters” is the subject of a talk by its author, Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins. She’s the first Black woman to lead the national league. 4:30 p.m. Thursday, via Zoom, sponsored by the Williamsburg Area League of Women Voters. Free; preregistration is required; lwvwilliamsburg.org. Registrants will get a confirmation email with a link to the meeting.
“Which Form of Publishing is Right for You?” is the next Traveling Pen writers workshop, Saturday via Zoom. Dawn Brotherton, an author and publisher and president of the Williamsburg Book Festival, presents. Check-in, 9:15 a.m., workshop, 9:30 to noon. $10.60 for members of Hampton Roads Writers paying online, $20.90 for nonmembers; by check or money order, $10 and $20. Register at hamptonroadswriters.org/tps2020.php
Obituary notes: Harold Evans, who wrote the books “The American Century” and “They Made America,” was first a crusading journalist in Britain, eventually head of the Atlantic Monthly, Random House and more; he was 92. … Terry Goodkind, author of the bestselling “Sword of Truth” fantasy series, was 72. … Jim Dwyer, a New York reporter who with Kevin Flynn wrote “102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers,” was 63.
New and recent
For kids, the sequel to “Guess How Much I Love You” (“I love you to the moon and back”): “Will You Be My Friend.” It arrives coincident with the death of their author, Sam McBratney of Northern Ireland. (Candlewick, 22 pp.)
— Erica Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
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