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Two Writers on Writing: Considering Class, Play, Power, and Language in the Essay and the Poem

Hilary Plum, Author; Adrienne Raphel, Princeton Writing Program

December 6, 2022 · 6:00 pm7:30 pm · Labyrinth Books and Livestream

Labyrinth Books; Humanities Council

Join us as two exceptional young writers interview each other about the questions that animate them and about their respective crafts.

Hybrid event held at Labyrinth; click here to register for the livestream.

Hilary Plum’s new book, Hole Studies, is a book about care and the forms it may take. It’s an essay collection on writing and labor, art and activism, attention as a transformative practice, difference and collaboration, adjuncting and the margins of the academy, whiteness and its weapons, professionalization and its discontents, the radical importance of surprise, friendship at work, the self and its public and private modes. Essays explore the music of the Swet Shop Boys, the literature of the US’s brutal war in Iraq, the career of Sinéad O’Connor, the aesthetics of the Dirtbag Left, the legacies of the “war on terror,” feminism on the job, and illness in America. The book is an intimate document and a critical guide.

It’s midnight. The anti-heroine in the poems collected in Raphel’s Our Dark Academia is perpetually working, trying to work it out. She’s lonely but onscreen. Meanwhile, is this new sensation grief or groin pull? Who’s in the waiting room? Is it too late to join the symposium? To buy organic greens? To save up? Save anything? With unsettling humor, Raphel traces the suspect filigrees of the “late late stage”: advanced degrees, wellness trends, inherited trinketry, GIFs of inspo lynx. Sliding with formal dynamism from sonnet crown to sestina, Wiki page to personal statement, crossword to quiz, Our Dark Academia captures the exuberant florid panicked acrobatics of this time at the edge of time.

Hilary Plum is the author of several books, most recently the novel Strawberry Fields, winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose. Her poetry collection, Excisions, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence. She teaches fiction, nonfiction, and editing & publishing at Cleveland State University and in the NEOMFA program, and she serves as associate director of the CSU Poetry Center. Recent work has appeared in Granta, College Literature, American Poetry Review, Fence, and elsewhere. Adrienne Raphel is the author of Thinking Inside the Box: Adventures with Crosswords and the Puzzling People Who Can’t Live Without Them and of the poetry collection What Was It For, selected by Cathy Park Hong as the winner of the Black Box Poetry Prize. Her essays, poetry, and criticism appear in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, The New Republic, and The Atlantic, among other publications. She teaches in the Writing Program at Princeton University.

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