On a surprisingly sunny and warm March afternoon, in the midst of a still-raging global pandemic, Laura Kasischke delivered a richly textured talk for an audience of fellow writers, scholars, students, and friends of the Residential College for the annual Robertson Memorial Lecture. Entitled "The News from Poetry: In an Era of False Facts and True Fallacies, What's to be Found in Art?”, her talk ventured to Stonehenge, the caves of prehistoric Argentina, Kentucky during the time of COVID-19, and even into her unsteady academic path as a shy Residential College student under the tutelage of Ken Mikolowski, Warren Hecht, Cindy Sowers, and Jim Robertson himself. The event was held on Zoom, enabling alums and friends from across the globe and in several time zones to join us for her talk, which she delivered in the heart of the RC on the stage of the Keene Theater.
This talk explores the ways in which art crosses borders and boundaries, both personal and global, erases political divisions to unite generations and cultures, to speak to all genders and races, to erase religious and economic divisions, while traveling eternally and generously (and for free!) from continent to continent, century to century, enduring through crises and chaos, disease and despair, to bring us the truths without which we will die.
Laura Kasischke is a graduate of the Residential College and is now proud to be an instructor of creative writing in it as well as in the English Department, where she is the Theodore Roethke Distinguished University Professor. She has published eleven collections of poetry, nine novels, a novella, and a collection of short stories. Her work has been translated into over a dozen languages, and three of her novels have been made into feature length films. The recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rilke Award for Poetry, and numerous teaching awards, Kasischke’s twelfth collection of poetry, Lightning Falls in Love, will be published in September.
This talk was presented by the Residential College, celebrating 50 years of the Creative Writing & Literature Program.
The Robertson Memorial Lecture is an annual Residential College event made possible by a gift honoring Professor James H. and Jean B. Robertson, the first Dean of the Residential College and his wife.