Friday, August 16, 2013

Fall 2013 Lineup

The Big Rock Reading series has an exciting lineup for Fall 2013. All events are free and open to the public.  For more information email or call 501-812-2302.

 Big Rock Reading Series: Novelist, Garry Craig Powell
Reading, Q & A, and Book Signing
Tuesday, September 17, 2013, 6:00 p.m., RJ Wills Lecture Hall, Campus Center 2nd Floor, Pulaski Technical College, North Little Rock

 Garry Craig Powell's debut, the novel-in-stories Stoning the Devil (Skylight Press 2012) has been long-listed for the 2013 Frank O' Connor Short Story Award. Powell, an Englishman, has degrees from the universities of Cambridge, Durham, and Arizona, and has taught in Portugal, Spain, Poland, and the United Arab Emirates, the setting of his book. His stories have appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, McSweeney's, Nimrod and other literary journals. He has been awarded fellowships by the Arkansas Arts Council, the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow, and the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. Powell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing at UCA.

Big Rock Reading Series: Dr. Adam Long and Dr. Ruth Hawkins
Presentation, Reading, Q & A, and Book Signing
Thursday, October 24, 2013, 6:00 p.m., RJ Wills Lecture Hall, Campus Center 2nd Floor, Pulaski Technical College, North Little Rock

Adam Long is the director of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, Arkansas.  Originally from Jonesboro, he has a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and degrees from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and Lyon College in Batesville. His academic writings have been published in journals such as Philological Review and The International Journal of the Humanities and in a forthcoming volume by the Center for Faulkner Studies.

Adam Long’s scholarship focuses on the changing South at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.  Though Ernest Hemingway is not from the South, he visited and wrote in Arkansas regularly and the prominent Pfeiffer family of Piggott was one of his greatest influences.  Through this Arkansas connection, Long explores the ways in which the Arkansas Delta (and the South more generally) was connected to a rapidly changing world in the 1920s and 1930s.

Ruth A. Hawkins is executive director of Arkansas Heritage Sites at Arkansas State University, including the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center at Piggott, the Historic Dyess Colony:  Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash, and other preservation and heritage tourism projects throughout the Arkansas Delta.  Her book, Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow, tells the story of the marriage between Ernest Hemingway and Pauline Pfeiffer of Piggott, Arkansas.  Hawkins holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, a Master's degree in Political Science from Arkansas State University and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Mississippi. She is a member of the Arkansas History Commission and a state advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.    

Big Rock Reading Series:  Diana Reaves and William Pittam
Reading and Q & A
Friday, November 15, 2013,10:00 a.m., RJ Wills Lecture Hall, Campus Center 2nd Floor, Pulaski Technical College, North Little Rock


Diana Reaves grew up in southern Alabama along the muddy banks of the Chattahoochee River, and before she fell for poetry, she wanted to be a tornado chaser. Reaves says, “I think those dreams of tracking storms are still very present in what I’m doing now. I mean, I’m always running after what is both mysterious and real, those momentary strikes or mile-long paths full of debris, some force we can’t predict that leaves us in quiet aftermaths of questions and possible answers, a rotating column of words often violent in some ways but beautiful—poetry.”

Reaves’ poems are about the loss of loved ones, the loss of belief in those we love, and also about the enduring and sometimes fragile connections between family and friends. She lives in Fayetteville, AR, where she is the 2013 Walton Fellow in Poetry and the 2013 Lily Peter Fellow in Poetry at the University of Arkansas. Her poems have appeared in Tar River Poetry, Boxcar Poetry Review, and The 2River View.

William Pittam is from Staffordshire, England. He took his MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. He is currently in the third year of his MFA at the University of Arkansas and a recipient of the Walton and Lily Peter Fellowships for Fiction.

Set in the United Kingdom, from London to the Midlands, William’s short stories take the form of family or marital drama, and yet also explore philosophical themes, such as belief and the rituals that form them. In one story about the 2005 London terror attacks, a woman attempts to understand the concept of martyrdom, the drive for which she views as an unattainable level of belief. This feeling is complicated, however, when she meets and begins to fall for a Bosnian man who fought in the Siege of Sarajevo.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Taste of Silano & Williams

 The Big Rock Reading Series Announces
A Joint Reading
With the Arkansas Literary Festival
Poets Martha Silano and Johnathon Williams
Friday, April 19, 2013 @ 11:00 a.m.

To whet the appetite, we offer poems by Silano and Williams.  Hope to see you at the reading.

A Country Wedding

The JP is drunk, and my father
dying, the embryonic clot
destined for his lungs
already cooing beneath his scarred left calf.
I wear a T-shirt. Her parents
are late, their stop at the Elks Lodge
extended when the tap struck air.
Moths and mosquito killers
light our vows, their procession
into the bug zapper a parable
of obsession and sacrifice.
Someone’s aunt plays the parlor
piano, middle C lost months ago,
and the tune unnamable.

Hours later, we sit upright
on my twin bed like witnesses
to a car accident where no one
was at fault. A school night, and tomorrow
we still won’t be allowed to kiss in the cafeteria,
so we compare notes on two years
of sex in station wagons and graveyards,
dress her dolls in the diapers
everyone assumed we needed.
Headlights wash the window in bridal white,
then disappear.  We stand as a truck turns
and travels back into its own dusty wake.
The highway is miles from our dirt road.
None find it in the dark.

Johnathon Williams, from The Road to Happiness  (Antilever Press, 2012)

It's All Gravy

a gravy with little brown specks       
a gravy from the juices in a pan

the pan you could have dumped in the sink
now a carnival of flavor waiting to be scraped 

loosened with splashes of milk of water of wine
let it cook let it thicken let it be spooned or poured

over bird over bovine over swine
the gravy of the cosmos bubbling

beside the resting now lifted to the table 
gravy like an ongoing conversation    

Uncle Benny's pork-pie hat    
a child's peculiar way of saying emergency  

seamlessly        with sides of potato of carrot of corn
seamlessly        while each door handle sings its own song

while giant cicadas ricochet off cycads and jellyfish sting
a gravy like the ether they swore the planets swam through

luminiferous      millions of times less dense than air       
ubiquitous         impossible to define   a gravy like the God

Newton paid respect to when he argued 
that to keep it all in balance to keep it from collapsing

to keep all the stars and planets from colliding
sometimes He had to intervene

a benevolent meddling like the hand 
that stirs and stirs as the liquid steams

obvious and simple        everything and nothing
my gravy your gravy our gravy      the cosmological constant's 

glutinous gravy       an iridescent and variably pulsing gravy    
the gravy of implosion      a dying-that-births-dueodenoms gravy  

gravy of doulas of dictionaries and of gold 
the hand stirs        the liquid steams 

and we heap the groaning platter with glistening
the celestial chef looking on as we lift our plates

lick them like a cat come back from a heavenly spin
because there is oxygen in our blood

because there is calcium in our bones   
because all of us were cooked

in the gleaming Viking range
of the stars

Martha Silano, from The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception (Saturnalia Books 2011).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

BRRS & the Arkansas Literary Festival Join Forces

 The Big Rock Reading Series Announces
A Joint Reading
With the Arkansas Literary Festival
Poets Martha Silano and Johnathon Williams
Friday, April 19, 2013 @ 11:00 a.m.

Martha Silano’s poems cover a broad range of subjects, including space aliens, saints, mothering, the Mona Lisa, and the art of sausage making.

Johnathon Williams' first collection of poems, The Road to Happiness, explores the disintegrating bonds of family and marriage in the hills of Southwest Arkansas.