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Announcing Guests Crowley, Block, and Rosser

Announcing Guests Crowley, Block, and Rosser

By Derek Nikitas, Director, Bluegrass Writers Studio

Want to see a bit more of our Winter Residency 2015 lineup?

Okay, here goes. But I’m saving one or two more for next week…

One of the most profound works of fiction I’ve ever read—right up there with Crime and Punishment, Moby Dick, Madame Bovary—is a hefty tome of semi-historical fantasy called Little, Big by the author JOHN CROWLEY. The book is tough to pin down, a challenge, but also a complete immersion into a world of profound imagination, not unlike Crowley’s Aegypt quartet, a sprawling work that evokes the occult “secret history” of the world.  Or Crowley’s Lord Byron’s Novel, a what-if about the book Byron promised to write that fateful night with the Shelleys, but never did.

Mr. Crowley himself can put it better: “I wanted to write novels with the breadth and depth of the greatest realistic fiction — my models were Dickens and Flaubert and Nabokov — yet with an element of the non-mimetic, or irreal, or preternatural, whatever the best word might be.”

Having had my mind completely renovated more than once by Mr. Crowley’s work, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that he’ll be joining the Bluegrass Writers Studio’s Winter Residency 2015 on January 8th.

On that same day we’ll continue last year’s exploration of alternative forms of narrative art by welcoming documentary filmmaker LAURIE BLOCK. Ms. Block is the executive director of the Disability History Museum and creator of the NPR radio series Beyond Affliction: the Disability History Project, winner of the 1999 Robert Kennedy Radio Journalism Award. Her award-winning film, FIT: Episodes in The History of The Body, was broadcast on PBS (She also happens to be Mr. Crowley’s spouse).

On January 10th we’re delighted to be hosting poet J. ALLYN ROSSER from Ohio University. Her fourth book of poetry, Mimi’s Trapeze, is set to appear in 2014 from the Pitt Poetry Series. Her previous books are Foiled Again, which won the New Criterion Poetry Prize in 2007; Misery Prefigured, which won the Crab Orchard Award and was published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2001; and Bright Moves was selected by Charles Simic for the Morse Poetry Prize. 

Here’s a little sample of her work from


(This Line Intentionally Left Blank)


we all got tickets to The Truth

finally we thought finally

when the curtain fell away

our indrawn breaths could be heard

even in the next theater

even the gasp of the mime

who had slipped in among us

a loud whushing like reams of litter

whirling upward in a gale

hands shot to mouths and mouths

fell open I couldn’t say within

how many seconds

all our minds shut some

slamming others just a click

like 300 parallel

rows of tipped dominoes  

a racket of almost unison


believe me we wouldn’t

have resisted anything

but the truth

so instantly and universally

yet we sat there and waited

for something else

which you could say we also got

if you count the mime’s

unpleasant remark

so she wasn’t even a real mime

probably part of what was

clearly just a performance

Contact Information

Kristen Thompson

Published on October 29, 2014

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