About the event

In her 1926 essay “On Being Ill,” Virginia Woolf commented, “How astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed.” Alexandra Butler's memoir Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief (Columbia UP, 2015) surveys those regions abruptly revealed by illness and death of her parents. For this event the author is joined by poet and scholar Joan Retallack (Bard College) who will be reading from her work Memnoir. Butler and Retallack will discuss how narratives of grief muddle perspectives of distance and intimacy that gives way to the poetic evocations of relations—and all their bracing conflicts and comforts. Both Butler and Retallack will read selections of their work and discuss the difficulties of imprinting the pain of heart and the body to the page.

This event is presented as part of Narrating Change, Changing Narratives, an interdisciplinary research group that employs public humanities practices and explores narration as a guide for social change. The group is supported by the Mellon Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research. For more information or to join, email [email protected].

Co-sponsored by the Narrating Change Mellon Seminar for Public Engagement and Collaborative Research.