Jay Baron Nicorvo on Campus, Faculty News, and More

The Visiting Writers Series would like to invite you to their next on-campus reading. Jay Baron Nicorvo will be reading from and discussing his debut poetry collection, Deadbeat, on Thursday, April 4th, at 6:00 p.m. in the Richardson Library room 115.

Nicorvo’s debut collection, Deadbeat, revolves around a central character of the same name—descendant of John Berryman’s Mr. Bones, Marvin Bell’s Dead Man and Ted Hughes’ Crow, to name an irrepressible few. Nicorvo’s compassionate yet relentless portrait—of Deadbeat, an absent father and husband, and Nicorvo2 (2)the family that goes on without him—weaves together a domestic narrative in which we witness Deadbeat muddle through courtship, marriage, estrangement, divorce, and, of course, fatherhood.

The book opens at a child support hearing— “Take a good look at your future,” the mother tells the young boy—and the poems that follow careen back and forth in time chronicling a downtrodden life, from the courtroom to the budding romance between Deadbeat and his bride to Deadbeat’s grown son and his own child. “What’s all this about love / when need strikes first fires,” we are asked, while layer upon complex layer is added to what we think we know about Deadbeat. Calling upon other well-known figures as in-absentia fathers—far-flung Odysseus, President Obama’s father, and even God in the poem “Deadbeat on High”—Nicorvo allows us to glimpse, with a surprising tenderness, the humanness of this man who “stripped the screw holding heaven together” and “mistook the window / for the world.” An effigy for America and our

Jay Baron Nicorvo’s poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and criticism have appeared in The Literary Review, Guernica, The Iowa Review, and The Believer. Four Way Books published his debut poetry collection, Deadbeat. He’s served on editorial staffs at Ploughshares and at PEN America, the literary magazine of the PEN American Center, and worked for the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses. He teaches at Western Michigan University where he’s faculty adviser to Third Coast, and he lives on an old farm outside Battle Creek with his wife, Thisbe Nissen, their son, Sonne, and a dozen vulnerable chickens.

All Visiting Writers Series events are free and open to the public.


In Faculty News: Please join the DePaul English Department in congratulating Amina Gautier on her receipt of a William Randolph Hearst Foundation Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) in Worcester, Mass.  The AAS is one of the nation’s foremost research libraries for American history, literature, and culture through 1876.  The Hearst Foundation Fellowship provides support for writers, performers, and artists to do research for their creative projects in the AAS’s collections.  Prof. Gautier is currently at the AAS conducting research for a historical novel titled Band of Gideon about three black female members of Gideon’s Band, a group of Northern idealist seminary students, school teachers, and abolitionists who traveled south to help slaves on the South Carolina Sea Islands.


Willow Books, the literary imprint of Aquarius Press, in Partnership with the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State University is hosting the Second Annual Willow Books LitFest on Saturday, April 6th, 2013, from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Chicago State University.

The Willow Books LitFest is not only a chance to network and commune with your fellow writers, it’s a chance to celebrate all that is great about literature. Work with top writers in the field, make connections and hone your craft.

Opportunities at the Willow Books LitFest will include workshops, networking, a book fair, manuscript sessions, panel discussions, public readings, an open mic, and the Willow Books Literature Awards finalists’ reading and ceremony.

Kelly Norman Ellis, Director of the MFA Program at Chicago State University will be available to meet with prospective students, and DePaul MAWP alumnus Zhanna Vaynberg will be holding manuscript sessions.

Most events are free and open to the public but require registration, as seats are filling quickly. To register, download the registration packet at willowlit.net/willow-books-litfest. You can also download a complete schedule of the day’s events at the same site.


NEIU Visiting Writers Series, Student News, & More

Today in student news, congratulations to Trudie Gauerke (M.A.W.P.) who has just had a poem published in The Penwood Review. Trudie’s poem, “What Is the World to Me,” appears in the Fall 2012 issue of The Penwood Review, a quarterly literary journal “established to embrace high quality poetry of all kinds, and to provide a forum for poets who want to write intriguing, energetic, and disciplined poetry as an expression of their faith in God.”


The new Creative Writing faculty in the English Department of Northeastern Illinois University are eager to share the details of their brand-new Visiting Writers Series. Six incredible writers are already on the schedule to read to come and read for this year’s series, including DePaul’s own Amina Gautier, who will be reading from and discussing her award-winning short story collection, At-Risk.

Prof. Gautier will be reading on November 1st, but please see the poster for the full list of NEIU Visiting Writers Program events. All students and faculty are invited to come and join NEIU for as many of these events as you can. They are free and open to the public.


Students at Columbia College are hosting a very special reading and would like to invite students from DePaul to participate.

The event, called Prose and Flows, will be held Tuesday, October 16th from 8:00 p.m. to midnight (doors open at 7:00 p.m.) as a part of a series of jazz-inspired evenings at the Shrine, 2109 S. Wabash. There will be jazz music playing and students will be invited to come up and read their poetry, short fiction and prose. It’s an informal, after-class event that’s a good opportunity for students to test their writing out in front of an audience.

If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Nycole Smith at ashnycole88@yahoo.com.

Haki Madhubuti & Amina Gautier at DePaul

Valentine’s Day is this coming Tuesday, do you have plans? Well, you do now!

On Tuesday, February 14th, please join the celebrated poet Haki Madhubuti and our gifted colleague Amina Gautier for an evening entitled “Liberation Through Literature.” Co-sponsored by African and Black Diaspora Studies and the Department of English, the  program takes place from 6-8 p.m. in room 103 of the Arts & Letters Building.

As a poet, publisher, editor and educator, Haki R. Madhubuti has been a pivotal figure in the development of a strong Black literary tradition, emerging from the Civil Rights and Black Arts era of the 60s and continuing to the present. Over the years, he has published more than 28 books (some under his former name, Don L. Lee). In 1967, Dr. Madhubuti founded Third World Press, currently the largest independent black-owned press in the United States. He is also the founder of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State University.

An assistant professor of English at DePaul, Amina Gautier is the author of At-Risk, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.  Her work has appeared in the anthologies Best African American Fiction and New Stories from the South and in numerous literary journals including Antioch Review, North American Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, and Southern Review.

Last week’s reading by DePaul faculty poets Chris Green, Kathleen Rooney, David Welch and Mark Turcotte was a wild success. The event drew over 100 people to the DePaul Art Museum–the second time a Visiting Writers program has had a standing-room-only crowd this academic year. Thank you to everyone who made it happen, and we hope to see you all again on February 14th!

Guild Literary Complex October Sampler

This is a great week to get involved with the Guild Literary Complex and check out some of their Chicago literary events, because tomorrow begins their “Mid-October Sampler Platter.” There’s lots to choose from!

Guild Literary Complex October SamplerTuesday Oct. 11th: “Crossing State Lines: An American Renga”
A film screening, discussion and renga poetry from Crossing State Lines: An American Renga with the Poetry Foundation. CSL features 54 poets from around the country, and the evening will include light refreshments, clips from a documentary film about the project, and the chance to be a part of a future Chicago renga.

Wednesday Oct. 12th: A Book Release Event with Renny Golden & Wendy Call
Poetry and non-fiction together in one night: Call will read from her new book, No Word for Welcome: The Mexican Village Faces the Global Economy and Golden will read from her new collection Blood Desert: Witnesses 1820-1880 (historical narrative poems about the settlement of New Mexico in the 19th Century).

Friday Oct. 14th: Submission Deadline for our Prose Awards for Short Fiction & Non-Fiction
You could win $250 in the annual Prose Awards! See the guidelines and the previous post on Ex Libris.

Friday Oct. 14th-Sunday Oct. 16th: Opening Weekend of Tour Guides 2011
The brand new show that takes you on an insider’s journey through Chicago’s quirks, pains and charms. Performed by a whole new cast of poet/performers in the stunning new Logan Square Arts Center.

For more information, click on the flyer or visit guildcomplex.org

And just a reminder: TONIGHT is the book release party for Prof. Amina Gautier and her new, award-winning short story collection At-Risk. Check out the details and come out for a great night!

Spotlight on Amina Gautier

In anticipation of the release of her new book, At-Risk, and the book-release party taking place on campus this coming Monday, we would like to take this time to turn the Ex Libris spotlight on DePaul’s own Prof. Amina Gautier.

At-Risk Amina GautierPraise for At-Risk, winner of the Flannery O’Connor award for Short Fiction:

“In this wonderful collection Amina Gautier writes with exhilarating insight and confidence about the lives of teenagers who are indeed at risk from themselves, their families and their friends. These are urgent and important stories.”
—Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street and Eva Moves The Furniture

“In these always engaging stories, Amina Gautier reminds us that behind the disturbing headlines are vibrant young people whose lives matter immeasurably. Gautier employs unflinching honesty to capture those lives, and she does so with clarity, dignity and genuine insight. At-Risk will break your heart even as it leaves you full of hope. It is a truly lovely book.”
—David Haynes, author of The Full Matilda

Amina Gautier is an assistant professor of English at DePaul University. Her work has appeared in the anthologies Best African American Fiction and New Stories from the South and in numerous literary journals including Antioch Review, North American Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, and Southern Review.

The forthcoming At-Risk is a collection of stories set in Brooklyn, where some kids make it and some kids don’t, but not in simple ways or for stereotypical reasons. Gautier’s stories explore the lives of young African Americans who might all be classified as “at-risk,” yet who encounter different opportunities and dangers in their particular neighborhoods and schools and who see life through the lens of different family experiences.
Amina Gautier at DePaul

On Monday, Oct. 10 please join the English Department, African and Black Diaspora Studies, and Women and Gender Studies in celebrating the release of this award-winning short-story collection. This book release party will take place at 6 p.m. at 325 Student Center. All are welcome to attend and congratulate Prof. Gautier on her amazing accomplishment!

NOTE: Last week, Ex Libris posted about Women’s Voices Weekend at Women and Children First bookstore. Please note that the lineup and some workshops in this event have been changed. Please visit the original Ex Libris post which has now been updated with the most recent information and flyer.