Unspeakable Practices V: Festival Bios

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               WORK OF

           1 - 3 May 2012 

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Robert Coover is a widely acknowledged innovator of post-modern American fiction.  Writing in The Guardian, Hari Kunzru has said of Coover that he, along with “such writers as Thomas Pynchon, William Gass, Donald Barthelme and John Barth, broke open the carapace of postwar American realism to reveal a fantastical funhouse of narrative possibilities.”  Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times has said that “Of all the postmodernist writers, Robert Coover is probably the funniest and most malicious, mixing up broad social and political satire with vaudeville turns, lewd pratfalls, and clever word plays that make us rethink both the mechanics of the world and our relationship to it.”  Author of more than a dozen books, including, most recently, NoirThe Adventures of Lucky Pierre:  Directors’ CutStepmother, and A Child Again, he has been the recipient of the William Faulkner, Brandeis University, American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Endowment of the Arts, and Rea Lifetime Short Story awards, as well as numerous other fellowships, prizes, and recognitions.  During his years at Brown, he has worked to establish the International Writers Project Fellowship, a program that annually brings to Providence one writer who has faced threats, harassment, imprisonment, and suppression of his or her work in nations throughout the world. Established in 2003, the International Writers Project has brought to the Brown campus ten writers from Iran, Nigeria, Uganda, Cambodia, Burma, Zimbabwe, and the Congo, many of whom have remained in the U.S. to pursue writing careers.    Robert Coover was also instrumental in bringing writers into the “CAVE,” (computer automated virtual environment), an immersive 3D space used for hypertext and work in immersive virtual reality.


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Robert Arellano taught from 1994 to 2003 on the Literary Arts faculty at Brown University. In 1996, Sonicnet published his groundbreaking hypertext novel Sunshine ’69 on the Web. His novels from Akashic Books include Fast Eddie, King of the BeesDon Dimaio of La Plata; the 2010 Edgar Award finalist Havana Lunar; and the newly published Curse the Names. In collaboration with the artists William Schaff, Richard Schuler, and Alec Thibodeau, Arellano created Dead in Desemboque, a graphic-novel tribute to Mexican pulp fiction, published by Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press. He is a founding member of the Literary Advisory Board of the Electronic Literature Organization and the faculty director of the Center for Emerging Media & Digital Arts at Southern Oregon University. 

Jonathan Baumbach's 16th book (15th fiction) will be out next year. His most recent novel is Dreams of Molly.  Also a widely published and anthologized short story writer, he has appeared in O.Henry Prize Stories, The Best of Esquire and Best American Short Stories. He has written about movies for Partisan Review and is a former chairman of The National Society of Film Critics.

 Mary Caponegro is the author of Tales from the Next VillageThe Star CaféFive DoubtsThe Complexities of Intimacy, and All Fall Down. She is the winner of the General Electric Prize, the Rome Prize in Literature, the Charles Flint Kellogg Award, and the Bruno Arcudi Prize. She has taught at Brown, RISD, the Institute of American Indian Arts, Hobart & William Smith, Syracuse University, and has been since 2002 the Richard B. Fisher Family Professor of Writing and Literature at Bard College 

John Cayley, Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, has practiced as a poet, translator, publisher, and bookdealer, and all these activities have often intersected with his training in Chinese culture and language.  His last printed book of poems, adaptations and translations was Ink Bamboo. Cayley was the winner of the Electronic Literature Organization's Award for Poetry 2001 (www.eliterature.org). He has taught at a number of universities in the United Kingdom, and was an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of English, Royal Holloway College, University of London. In the United States, he has previously taught or directed research at the University of California San Diego and at Brown (2003 and 2005). His most recent work explores ambient poetics in programmable media and writing in immersive VR, with parallel theoretical interventions concerning the role of code in writing and the temporal properties of textuality.  http://programmatology.shadoof.net/

The author of eight novels, three collections of short fiction, a book of essays and five books of poetry, Rikki Ducornet has twice been honored by the Lannan Foundation. She has received the Bard College Arts and Letters award and, in 2008, an Academy Award in Literature. Her work is widely published abroad. Recent exhibitions of her paintings include the solo show Desirous at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2007, and the group shows: O Reverso Do Olhar in Coimbra, Portugal, in 2008, and El Umbral Secreto at the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende in Santiago, Chile, in 2009. She has illustrated books by Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Coover, Forest Gander, Kate Bernheimer, Joanna Howard and Anne Waldman among others.

Chair and Professor of Literary Arts, Brian Evenson is also the author of twelve books of fiction, most recently Immobility (2012) and Windeye (2012).  His other books include Last Days (which won the American Library Association's award for Best Horror Novel of 2009) and the story collection Fugue State, both of which were on Time Out New York's top books of 2009. His novel The Open Curtain (Coffee House Press) was a finalist for an Edgar Award and an IHG Award. His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Slovenian. He lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island, where he directs Brown University's Literary Arts Department. Other books include The Wavering Knife (which won the IHG Award for best story collection), Dark Property, and Altmann's Tongue. He has translated work by Christian Gailly, Jean Frémon, Claro, Jacques Jouet, Eric Chevillard, Antoine Volodine, and others. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship and three O. Henry Prizes.

Evelyn Farny is an active performer and ardent supporter of new music. As a founding member of the NYC-based new music collective TRANSIT, she frequently collaborates with composers from New York and around the world in the DoubleBill Series, which features emerging composers from cultural hotspots. TRANSIT's multimedia chamber and electronics project, *Corps Exquis*, will be released on New Amsterdam Records in 2012. Evelyn has premiered many pieces and worked with Pierre Boulez at the Lucerne Academy Festival in Switzerland. She is also a member of Arturo en el Barco, the innovative lo-fi ambient chamber rock group led by composer Angélica Negrón. In addition to her dedication to new music, Evelyn is an active freelancer and has performed at venues across New York City including Le Poisson Rouge, Issue Project Room, Carnegie Hall, and Radio City Music Hall. She holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and SUNY Purchase, and has toured with musical groups throughout the U.S., Europe, Japan, and South America.

Daniel Felsenfeld
 has been commissioned and performed by Simone Dinnerstein, Opera On Tap, Metropolis Ensemble (with Nicole Atkins), Meerenai Shim, Two Sense (Lisa Moore and Ashley Bathgate), ASCAP, San Jose Opera, ETHEL, Great Noise Ensemble, American Opera Projects, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Transit, Redshift, Nadia Sirota, Blair McMillen, Two Sides Sounding, Eleanor Taylor and Jen Devore, Holly Chatham, Nouvelle Ensmeble Moderne, Cornelius Duffallo, Stephianie Mortimore, Mellissa Hughes, Corey Dargel, Jenny Lin, New York City Opera (VOX), ACME, Redshift, New Gallery Consert Series, Gabriella Diaz, Jody Redhage, Caroline Worra, New England Conservatory Philharmonic in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Galapagos Art Space, The Kimmell Center, Jordan Hall, the Kitchen, Stanford University, Harvard University, The Stone, Le Poisson Rouge, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as part of the MATA Festival, Make Music New York, 21c Liederabend, Opera Grows in Brooklyn, New Brew, and John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders. Future projects include pieces for Sequitur, Kathy Supove, Michael Zegarski, Great Noise, Ashley Bathgate and Ensemble 212, Vocallective, Cadillac Moon Ensemble and Vision Into Art. Composer John Corigliano has noted: "Committed as strongly to freshness as to intelligibility, Daniel Felsenfeld composes music that’s strong, unusual, intelligent, and considerably skilled."  (more) 

Associate Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, Thalia Field's work lives at the crossroads of prose, essay, poetry, even theater. Her collections include Bird Lovers, Backyard, A Prank of Georges, Ululu (Clown Schrapnel),Incarnate: Story Material and Point and Line. Additionally, Thalia has collaborated on performance work, including Melt, Rest/Less and Zoologic.  Her work has appeared in numerous journals includingTheater, Ploughshares, Chicago Review, Tin House, Fence, Angelaki, andConjunctions, where she guest-edited issue #28 on experimental music-theater scores. 

Assistant Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, Renee Gladman is also the author of Arlem, Not Right Now, Juice The Activist, A Picture Feeling, Newcomer Can't Swim. Since 2004, she has been the editor and publisher of Leon Works, a perfect bound series of books for experimental prose. She was previously the editor of the Leroy chapbook series, publishing innovative poetry and prose by emerging writers.


 Geoffrey Green writes fiction and literary criticism. His works include: Novel vs. Fiction; Literary Criticism and the Structures of History: Erich Auerbach and Leo Spitzer; Freud and Nabokov; The Vineland Papers: Literary Takes on Pynchon's Novel; and two recent books: Voices in a Mask (a short story cycle devoted to themes of identity and disguise in opera and drama) and the edited volume, Scholes Loves a Story: A Book for Bob. He is Executive Editor of the critical journal, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction (Taylor and Francis). He is Professor of English at San Francisco State University. Green attended the 1969 Brown symposium while an undergraduate at Brown. He participated in the 1988 Unspeakable Practices festival, publishing excerpts of the panels in Critique.

Mila Henry is a New York-based pianist who specializes in contemporary opera, musical theater, and chamber music.  She is currently Resident Music Director with American Opera Projects in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.  A regular at their OPERAtion Brooklyn series at Galapagos Art Space, she is also a music director for their nationally recognized Composers & the Voice workshop series.  She has worked with both emerging and established composers alike, including Libby Larsen, Conrad Cummings, Douglas Cuomo, Herschel Garfein, Gilda Lyons, Tarik O’Regan, Gregory Spears, and Daniel Felsenfeld.  Notable performances: New York Premiere of John Musto’s Later The Same Evening (Albany Records 2009); Philadelphia Fringe Festival with Jack Perla’s Love/Hate; HERE’s Culturemart festival with Stefan Weisman’s The Scarlet Ibis; String Orchestra of Brooklyn's critically acclaimed performance of Philip Glass's In the Penal Colony, where she served as vocal coach.  Mila holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and Elizabethtown College.  She lives in Brooklyn.

 Dr. Heinz Ickstadt is Professor Emeritus of American Literature at the Kennedy Institute of North American Studies at the Free University, Berlin, where he taught from 1978 through 2003.  His publications include a history of the American novel in the twentieth century and essays on late nineteenth-century American literature and culture, the fiction and poetry of American modernism and postmodernism, and the history and theory of American Studies.  Some of these were collected in Faces of Fiction:  Essays on American Literature and Culture from the Jacksonian Age to Postmodernity.  He also edited and co-edited several books on American literature and culture, among them a bilingual anthology of American poetry.  He was president of the German Association of American Studies from 1990 – 1993, and president of the European Association of American Studies, 1996 – 2000.

Sam Lipsyte is the author of the story collection Venus Drive (Open City Books, 2000) and three novels, including The Ask (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010), a New York Times Notable Book, and Home Land (Picador, 2004), a New York Times Notable book and winner of the first annual Believer Book Award.  A 2008 Guggenheim Fellow, his fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, The Paris Review, The Quarterly, Tin House, and Noon, among others. He teaches at Columbia University's School of the Arts.

In the early 1990's Bob Coover, writing in The New York Times, called Michael Joyce's 1987 novel, afternoon,  "the granddaddy of hypertext fictions," and the phrase, alas, stuck to him rather than the work, causing him to lose his hair. He since has published numerous hypertext fictions on the web and on disk, and afternoon has been translated into various languages, with a French translation forthcoming from Editions HYX (Paris) in 2012.  His most recent print novel, Was: Annales Nomadique, a novel of internet, was published by Fiction Collective 2 in 2007. Another novel, Liam's Going, was reissued in paperback by McPherson and Company in 2009. In recent years he has been collaborating in multimedia work with LA painter Alexandra Grant, as well as publishing poems and translations in various journals. His 2012 collection of poems, Paris Views, was published by BlazeVOX. He lives along the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie where he is Professor of English and Media Studies at Vassar College.

Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, Carole Maso is the author of the novels: Ghost DanceThe Art LoverAVAThe American Woman in the Chinese Hat, and Defiance; as well as Aureole (a book of short fictions); Break Every Rule (essays); The Room Lit by Roses (a journal of pregnancy and birth) and Beauty is Convulsive: The Passion of Frida Kahlo. She is the recipient of many awards, including a Lannan Fellowship.

Larry McCaffery wrote the first Ph.D. thesis on Robert Coover back in 1975.  That thesis was later incorporated into his 1983 study, The Metafictional Muse:  The  Works of Robert Coover, Donald Barthelme and William H. Gass.  His interview with Coover was included in Anything Can Happen:  Interviews with Contemporary American Authors (with Tom LeClair, 1983); he guest edited a 2002 special issue of  Critique:  Studies in Contemporary Fiction, devoted to Coover's The Public Burning, which also included his interview with Coover.  In 1998, he (barely) lost a car race against Coover in the Anza Borrego Desert.

Brian McHale is Distinguished Arts and Humanities Professor of English at the Ohio State University. He is one of the founding members of Project Narrative at Ohio State, and served as president of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP) in 2010-11.  The author of three books on postmodernist fiction and poetry –Postmodernist Fiction (1987), Constructing Postmodernism (1992), and The Obligation toward the Difficult Whole: Postmodernist Long Poems (2004) – he has also published many articles on modernism and postmodernism, narrative theory, and science fiction.  He is co-editor, with Randall Stevenson, of the Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Literatures in English (2006); with David Herman and James Phelan of Teaching Narrative Theory (2010); with Luc Herman and Inger Dalsgaard of the Cambridge Companion to Thomas Pynchon (2012); and with Joe Bray and Alison Gibbons of the Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (forthcoming)

Ben Marcus is the author of several books, including The Flame Alphabet and The Age of Wire and String.  His stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Harper's, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review.  He is the recipient of three Pushcart prizes and awards from the Whiting Foundation and Creative Capital.  He lives in New York where he is on the faculty at Columbia University.


Rick Moody is the author of five novels, including, most recently, The Four Fingers of Death; three collections of stories; a memoir, The Black Veil, and a collection of essays, On Celestial Music. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, Le Monde, The New York Times, and many other periodicals, and he has been anthologized widely. He also writes songs and plays music in The Wingdale Community Singers, Authros, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of Brown University, and teaches writing at NYU and Yale.

Bradford Morrow is author of the novels Come SundayThe Almanac BranchTrinity FieldsGiovanni’s GiftAriel’s Crossing, and The Diviner’s Tale, which was published in 2011 simultaneously by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in the United States and Grove Atlantic/Corvus in England.  His anthology on the subject of death, The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death, co-edited with David Shields, came out with W. W. Norton in 2011.  And his first collection of short stories, The Uninnocent, was published by Pegasus Books, also in 2011.  A novella, Fall of the Birds, was published as a Kindle Single by Open Road Integrated Media that same year. Recipient of numerous awards, among them the Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an O. Henry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, he also founded and edits Bard College’s acclaimed literary journal, Conjunctions, for which he received the 2007 PEN/Nora Magid Award.  Along with Conjunctions, which has now produced some 58 issues, publishing the work of over a thousand fiction writers, poets, essayists, and dramatists, Morrow edits the online Web Conjunctions, publishing new work each week.  (more)

Called a "pop culture maven" by The Boston Globe, Boston native Ken Reid has been performing for over 10 years in various capacities. In 1995 he formed the seminal Boston Punk Rock group "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" at Boston's infamous "Rat" club.  In 2003, while living in London, he decided to try his hand at stand up. After performing around the UK, he returned to Boston in late 2003 and has been a staple on the comedy scene ever since.  Using photos, video clips, and his own brand of storytelling, Reid has written and performed three one man shows. His first show "Ken Reid's Cusack Attack" was a sold out affair at the Boston Center for the Arts.  His second show "Very Special Episode: Portrait of a Pop Culture Victim" was also a sell out in March of 2008.  His show “Music to My Years” from October 2009 was widely praised and was the featured pick on Boston.com.  Ken has performed at the Boston Comedy Festival, hosted at the Lowell Comedy Festival, hosted and presented at the Boston Music Awards, was the Comic in Residence at The Comedy Studio in September 2006 and was a founding member of comedy troupe The Untrainables. With The Untrainables he hosted and co-produced  the "Great and Secret Comedy Show" at Improv Boston from 2006 until 2009.  In August of 2008 Ken became the regular Friday night host at the Comedy Studio in Cambridge, MA. In 2010, he was nominated by the readers and editors of The Boston Phoenix as Boston’s Best Comedian.

Hailed by Opera News for her “best all-around performance” in Handel’s Ariodante (Princeton Festival), soprano Marcy Richardson recently made her Alice Tully and Avery Fisher Hall debut as the soprano soloist in the Faure Requiem and Mozart Vesperae Solennes de Confessore. Other highlights of the 2011/2012 season include Diana/Giove as Diana in La Calisto with Vertical Player Repertory, John Eaton’s The Greeks at Symphony Space for the New Composers Alliance Summer Festival, Monica in The Medium with St. Petersburg Opera, and gala concerts with the Princeton Symphony and Toledo Opera. This June, she will sing the role of the stripper Ani King George in Gordon Beeferman and Charlotte Jackson's The Enchanted Organ, a burlesque opera that celebrates sexuality and satirizes the porn industry.

Butch Rovan is a media artist and performer at Brown University, where he co-directs MEME (Multimedia & Electronic Music Experiments @ Brown). Rovan has received prizes from the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition and the Berlin Transmediale International Media Arts Festival, and his work has appeared throughout Europe and the U.S. Most recently, his interactive installation Let us imagine a straight line was featured in the 14th WRO International Media Art Biennale, Poland.  His research includes new sensor hardware design and wireless microcontroller systems. 


Described as “graceful and athletic” by The New York Times and an “intrepid entrepreneurial player” by New York Magazine, Jessica Schmitz has collaborated internationally across a wide spectrum of musical arts as a flutist, curator, producer, and educator.  Uniquely dedicated to the creation and future of contemporary music, Jessica leads a career embracing the new 21st century paradigm of the multi-faceted artist. Jessica’s main goal in working in the arts is to bring contemporary music to international audiences in ways never before experienced—whether it be by performing and commissioning new works, writing about the arts scene, or teaching new and young audiences about the music of today.  (more)


Joanna Scott is the author of eight novels, including Follow Me, Liberation, Tourmaline,  Make Believe, The Manikin,  and Arrogance,  and two collections of short fiction, Various Antidotes and Everybody Loves Somebody.  Her stories and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, Harpers, Esquire, Conjunctions, Black Clock, Subtropics, and other journals.  She has reviewed for The New York Times, The Nation, and The Los Angeles Times.  Her books have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN-Faulkner, and the LA Times Book Award.  Awards include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Ambassador Book Award from the English-Speaking Union, and the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  She is the Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English at the University of Rochester.  

Robert Scholes is a well-known scholar and literary theorist who is currently Research Professor in the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, where he is also Emeritus Professor of Modern Culture and Media, English, and Comparative Literature.  During his nearly thirty years at Brown, Professor Scholes taught courses on modern literature, art, opera, and theory.  He is the author or co-author of over thirty books, including, most recently, English After the Fall – From Literature to Textuality (2011); Modernism in the Magazines (2010); and The Paradox of Modernism (2006).  He is past president of the Semiotic Society of America and the Modern Language Association.  He is currently director of the Modernist Journals Project, a joint effort by Brown University and the University of Tulsa to digitize and make available online English languages periodicals from the period 1890 – 1922.

Wesley Stace was born in Hastings, Sussex, in 1965. Under the name John Wesley Harding, he has released 17 albums, ranging from traditional folk to full-on pop. His most recent, The Sound Of His Own Voice, was released in October, 2011. He has also published three novels, including the international bestseller Misfortune. His most recent, Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer, made both The Wall Street Journal’s Top Ten Novels of The Year and Top Ten Mysteries of The Year. He also created John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders, a monthly show that plays at NYC’s City Winery, shortly to air on NPR. The New Yorker called it “one of the finest nights of entertainment this city has to offer.” Stace reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and is currently writer-in-residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He lives in Philadelphia.

C.D. Wright, professor of Literary Arts, is winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in March 2011 for her most recent title, One With Others: [a little book of her days], which was also a finalist for the National Book Award and was selected as winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets.  C.D. has published over a dozen books, including Rising, Falling, Hovering, Like Something Flying Backwards: New and Selected Poems, and a text edition ofOne Big Self: An Investigation, focused on Louisiana inmates. With photographer Deborah Luster, Wright won the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize for One Big Self from the Center for documentary Studies at Duke University. She has published several book-length poems including Deepstep Come Shining and Just Whistle. Wright has composed and published two state literary maps, one for Arkansas, her native state, and one for Rhode Island, her adopted state. Wright is former State Poet of Rhode Island and with poet Forrest Gander she edited Lost Roads Publishers for over twenty years.  Her honors include awards from the Wallace Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts as well as the Lannan Literary Award. In 2004 Wright was named a MacArthur Fellow; in 2005 she was given the Robert Creeley Award, and elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, Rising, Falling, Hovering won the International Griffin Poetry Prize.