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David Lazar, Kristen Iversen, José Orduña, and Xu Xi: "Don't Look Now: Things I Wish I Hadn't Seen"

(Photo credit for Xu Xi: Leslie Lausch)

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About Don't Look Now: Would that our memories were self-selecting. But often what we remember most, and most vividly, are those moments that caught us unawares: the things we wish we hadn't seen and have never been able to shake. This group of prominent American writers tries to come to grips with obsessive memory, the uncanny, and the bad dreams that accompany the moments in our lives when we wish we'd looked away, the places we wish we'd never been, and the scenes we wish we'd never stumbled upon.

Featuring essays by Jericho Parms, XU XI, Jerald Walker, José Orduña, Kristen Iversen, Nicole Walker, Mary Cappello, Lina Ferreira, Colleen O'Connor, Sonya Huber, Paul Crenshaw, Alyce Miller, Patrick Madden, Amelia María de la Luz Montes, Yalie Kamara, Emily Heiden, Lee Martin, and David Lazar,
this collection bares all. The authors invite readers into a dream that resurrects a departed mother each night, only to lose her again each morning upon waking; the post-mortem newspaper photos of a former student; kaleidoscope childhood memories of the mundane mixed up together with the traumatic; an unplanned pregnancy; a bullfight and a spouse's mortality; a teen witnessing the suicide of her father; a parent trying to shield his children from witnessing a violent death. What these writers are after, though, is not the melancholic/grotesque/violent moment itself, but the process of remembering--and trying to forget. They examine the way these memories take hold, resurface, and never leave, and what it means for a life lived long after these moments have passed. These scenes, slowly enfolding us like bad dreams or flying by like trains on elevated platforms, demand we reach some kind of accommodation with them--make peace or make sense or make amends. The one thing they insist with certainty is this: they cannot--will not--be unseen.

About David Lazar: David Lazar is a professor at Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of several books and the founding editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika. Lazar was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for General Nonfiction in 2015. His books include After Montaigne, The Body of Brooklyn, Truth in Nonfiction, Occasional Desire, and I’ll Be Your Mirror. He is the co-editor of the series 21st Century Essays, published by Ohio State University Press.

About Kristen Iversen: Kristen Iversen grew up in Colorado and writes literary nonfiction and fiction. Two-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, her books include Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky FlatsMolly Brown: Unraveling the MythShadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction; and a forthcoming literary biography of Nikola Tesla. She is also editor of the anthology Doom with a View and co-editor of the anthology Don't Look Now. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, The American Scholar, and others. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati and Literary Nonfiction editor of The Cincinnati Review. In 2020-2021 Iversen will be a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bergen, Norway.

About José Orduña: José Orduña is an essayist and educator. He earned an MFA in nonfiction from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and a BA in Film/Video from Columbia College Chicago. His first book, The Weight of Shadows: A Memoir of Immigration and Displacement, was published by Beacon Press.

About Xu Xi: Xu Xi is the author of fourteen books, including five novels, seven collections of short fiction & essays and one memoir. Most recent titles include This Fish is Fowl: Essays of Being (2019) from University of Nebraska Press "American Lives" series; Insignificance: Hong Kong Stories (2018) by Signal 8 Press; the memoir Dear Hong Kong: An Elegy for a City (2017), as part of Penguin's Hong Kong series for the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China. She is also editor of four anthologies of Hong Kong writing in English.


Event date: 
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Don't Look Now: Things We Wish We Hadn't Seen (21st Century Essays) Cover Image
By David Lazar (Editor), Kristen Iversen (Editor)
ISBN: 9780814256015
Availability: Special Order
Published: Mad Creek Books - October 16th, 2020

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