Events Archive


SHSU Poet To Read From Much-Lauded New Book

Poet Nick Lantz

The latest book by poet Nick Lantz, “How to Dance as the Roof Caves In,” is full of instruction: how to dance when you do not know how to dance; how to help a ghost; how to travel; how to stage a community.

But it isn’t the kind of self-help book that will land him a guest slot on “Dr. Phil.” In fact, it’s not a self-help book at all, but rather a collection of poems that casts a sharp, satirical—and heartbreaking—eye at America early in the 21st Century.

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Prufer to Explore ‘American Landscape’ During MFA Visit

Poet Kevin Prufer visits SHSU for the MFA Reading Series.

Kevin Prufer is the author of six collections of poetry, including "In a Beautiful Country" (a finalist for the Rilke Prize and the Poets’ Prize), "National Anthem" and "Fallen from a Chariot." His most recent book, "Churches," was just released by Four Way Books.

“Kevin Prufer’s poetry is accessible, but also wonderfully strange,” said Nick Lantz, SHSU assistant professor of English. “He writes about familiar American landscapes—airports, shopping malls, suburbia, hospitals, and army bases—bent just out of their accustomed shape.

“The America in his poems is a post-apocalyptic, fallen empire. But the speakers of these poems are compassionate and funny, whether they’re talking about Patriot Missiles, ancient Rome, angels, or the latest action movie rental.”

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Inaugural Program to Bring National Book Award Finalists to Campus

The National Book Awards at Sam Houston, featuring Tea Obreht, Lucie Brock-Broido, and Gene Luen Yang.

The Sam Houston State University Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, editing and publishing, in conjunction with the National Book Foundation, will debut a new marquee literary event, the “National Book Awards at Sam Houston,” this March.

This year’s inaugural program will feature fiction writer Téa Obreht, poet Lucie Brock-Broido and graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, who will present readings of their works and engage in a moderated conversation on March 31, beginning at 7 p.m. in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center. The event will be free and open to the public.

The event was created through a partnership between SHSU and the NBF to annually bring National Book Award winners and finalists to campus and to the community for a series of events celebrating literature and literacy. The National Book Awards are among the most prestigious annual literary awards in the nation, and the “National Book Awards at Sam Houston” will be only the second such program in the country. 

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MFA Program to Host 'Minor' Reading On Feb. 13

Fiction writer Kyle Minor visits SHSU as part of the MFA Reading Series.

On his first book tour, Kyle Minor drove around the country in his own car, slept on friends’ couches, cashed in old debts and made new ones, and built an audience for his work in a manner more associated with indie rock bands than fiction writers.

But there’s nothing merely trendy or fame fleeting about the short stories Minor writes. Instead, his stories lodge themselves in the bedrock of literature, very much of the time and place of their creation, yes, but also very much of those qualities readers seek in all fiction—honesty, insight, empathy, humor and generosity, according to Scott Kaukonen, associate professor of English at Sam Houston State University.

Minor will visit SHSU on Thursday (Feb. 13) as part of the ongoing reading series sponsored by the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, editing and publishing. He will read from his latest collection of stories, Praying Drunk, at 6 p.m. in Austin Hall.

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Profs to Give Bilingual Reading of Translated Finnish Novel

Scott Kaukonen and Helena Halmari have translated from the Finnish Anja Snellman's novel Pet Shop Girls.

Two Sam Houston State University English professors will close out the department’s fall MFA Reading Series by sharing their heritage via an exploration of a lesser-examined writing form—that of translation—with a bilingual reading on Dec. 2.

The presentation, which will begin at 6 p.m. in Austin Hall, will feature English department chair Helena Halmari and Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program director Scott Kaukonen, who will read from their translation of Finnish author Anja Snellman’s Pet Shop Girls.

“We'll read from both the original novel, in Finnish, and from our translation. Well, Helena will read from the Finnish; I'll stick to the English,” Kaukonen said. “We'll also talk about the process of translation and why we think translation is important.”

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Young Author to Share ‘Haunting’ Stories for MFA Talk

Michael Sheehan speaks at the MFA Creative Writing Program

Michael Sheehan, an assistant professor of creative writing at Stephen F. Austin State University, will show budding writers at Sam Houston State University what someone who’s in the early stages of a writing career can accomplish on Monday (Nov. 18).

Sheehan will read from his debut collection of short stories, Proposals for the Recovery of the Apparently Drowned, as part of the English department’s MFA Reading Series, beginning at 6 p.m. in Evans Building Room 212.

“There's a haunting quality to Sheehan's stories, a disquieting effect, the sense that something has gone tremendously wrong and even if you can't always name it—and sometimes you can—it's still coming for you nonetheless,” said Scott Kaukonen, director of the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, editing and publishing. “On the surface, the stories are suburban and contemporary, fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, but there is too the anxiety that suffuses our present moment, that at any time and at any place, it can all go so terribly, terribly wrong. And maybe you are to blame and maybe you are not. But the result is still the same.”

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English Prof Gets 'Graphic' in First Book Publication

Graphic novelist Michael Demson reads as part of the MFA Reading Series.

Shelley, a hotheaded, politically-charged radical—who was kicked out of Oxford for writing a pamphlet that demanded his professors prove the existence of God or stop talking about him altogether—became a source of inspiration for Newman and a movement she would lead during a critical time in her life, a time that would label her, too, a radical.

Their story became a source of inspiration for Sam Houston State University assistant professor of English Michael Demson, and he shares it in his first book.

Masks of Anarchy: The History of a Radical Poem, from Percy Shelley to the Triangle Factory Fire is not what one might consider a typical research endeavor; its form may even lend itself the distinction of being “radical” by scholarly standards. 

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MFA Program to Launch Fall Series with Award-Winning Poet

Lauren Shapiro speaks at the MFA Creative Writing Program

Poet Lauren Shapiro will share pieces from her award-winning debut poetry collection Easy Math, beginning at 6 p.m. in Austin Hall.

“Lauren Shapiro’s poems fall somewhere between deadpan stand-up routine and stream-of-consciousness lyric, somewhere between an expert sleight-of-hand act and channel surfing at 3 a.m.,” said Nick Lantz, SHSU assistant professor of English. “The worlds we visit in her poetry are fraught, poignant, and often border the absurd, as when a caretaker pushes ‘a quadriplegic’s nose into a rose bush’ named after Martha Stewart or when a classroom of frustrated ESL students disrobe in protest of fickle prepositions. In these poems, ‘the proposition never/leads to the conclusion’—instead, their logic is paratactic, associational, and slyly resonant.”

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Voice of Vietnam War to 'Carry' Out Reading

Tim O'Brien speaks at the MFA Creative Writing Program

“A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth.”

It is a sentence, found in what many consider American novelist Tim O’Brien’s most well known book The Things They Carried, but it is also representative of his art as a whole.

O’Brien will visit the Sam Houston State University campus on April 3-4 for a public reading.

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Noted Fiction Writer to Give Public Reading March 25

Michael Kardos presents a reading for the MFA Creative Writing program

The Sam Houston State University Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing will welcome to campus fiction writer Michael Kardos on March 25.

Kardos, the author of the novel The Three-Day Affair and the short-story collection One Last Good Time, will give a reading from his work at 6 p.m. in Austin Hall. The reading is free and open to the public.

The Three-Day Affair, Kardos’s debut novel published by Mysterious Press, was named by Esquire magazine as one of the best eight books of 2012.

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'Inspiring' Writer to Read Work

Jesse Lee Kercheval reads for the MFA Creative Writing Program

The Sam Houston State University Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program will welcome to campus multi-genre author and highly regarded teacher Jesse Lee Kercheval on Monday (Feb. 18).

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Poet Jamaal May to Give Campus Reading

Poet Jamaal May To Give Campus Reading for the MFA Creative Writing program

The Sam Houston State University Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program will welcome poet Jamaal May to campus on Monday (Nov. 19), as part of its on-going reading series.

May, the author of Hum (Alice James Books 2013), winner of the 2012 Beatrice Hawley Award, as well as two poetry chapbooks (2009’s The God Engine and 2012’s The Whetting of Teeth), will give a public reading of his work at 6 p.m. in College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building Room 70. The event is free and open to the public.

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