Sigma Tau Delta lecture series: Lytton Smith on poetry and (failed) teleportation

Poet and SUNY Geneseo Assistant Professor of English Lytton Smith will be the next speaker in the ongoing faculty lecture series sponsored by Geneseo’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society.

Prof. Smith’s title is “Poetry as (Failed) Teleportation: A Talk and Reading.” He’ll be talking (and reading) this coming Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in Welles 128.

In the aftermath of natural disaster and political oppression, he’ll ask, where might we find poetry? What might poetry do for us, for others?

Tracing a line between Google Satellite imagery, obscure NFL rules, and 21st century Burma, Prof. Smith’s recent book of poems, While You Were Approaching the Spectacle But Before You Were Transformed by It (Nightboat, 2013) explores the role a poem might have in connecting us to far-off events and unfamiliar places. In Tuesday’s talk and reading, he’ll discuss his research and writing process and argue that poetry’s meaningful contribution to ethics and politics might be formal rather than emotional. Somewhere beyond Bertolt Brecht’s resistance to empathy and Martha Nussbaum’s argument for compassion, we might find an aesthetics in poetry that presents us with the dilemma of our own implication in distant happenings.

Followers of Prof. Smith’s work should also take note of his ongoing series of poems co-authored with poet Adam O. Davis; six of these poems, together with a jointly authored poetics statement, appear in the collaborative online magazine of poetry and poetics Likestarlings. A meditation on the unraveling and intertwining histories of the U.K. and the U.S., Davis and Smith’s poems are also an experiment that question the idea of authorship.

Next Up: Joan Anim-Addo

Writer and Professor of Caribbean Literatures and Cultures Joan Anim-Addo will lecture on “Lesssons from Imoinda: Black British Writing at the (21st C) Margins” in Doty 300 on Wednesday, October 22 at 2:30 p.m.  At Goldsmiths, University of London,  Professor Anim-Addo has been the Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies since 1998. Her publications include the libretto Imoinda (2008); the poetry collections Haunted by History (1998) and  Janie Cricketing Lady (2006); and the literary history Touching the Body: History, Language and African-Caribbean Women’s Writing (2007). Her co-edited books include Interculturality and Gender (2009), Caribbean-Scottish Relations: Colonial and Contemporary Inscriptions in History, Language and Literature (2007), and I am Black, White, Yellow: An Introduction to the Black Body in Europe (2007). She is co-editor of two Feminist Review Special Issues, ‘Affect and Creolisation’ (2013) and ‘Black British Feminisms’ (2014).

For more information:

SUNY Geneseo at Rochester Pub Fair

NewPubFairTile2This Saturday, September 13, The Rochester Visual Studies Workshop will host the second annual Pub Fair from noon to 7 p.m. in the VSW Auditorium at 31 Prince St. in Rochester.

Rochester Writers and Books will present Litsplosion at the Pub Fair, bringing together award-winning writers, emerging voices, regional talents, and local beer in its celebration of book arts.

smithljNew SUNY Geneseo English faculty member Lytton Smith will read from his poetry at 4:40 p.m., wrapping up a series of 10-minute readings that will begin at 2:00 p.m. with a reading by Gail Hosking and will include readings by Jon Palzer, Kitty Jospe, Ralph Black, Nick Alezza, Stevie Edwards, Nick Falck, Charlie Cote, Jacob Rakovan, Rachel McKibbens, Tom Fugalli, Kathryn Cowles, James Logenbach, and Christopher Kennedy.

SUNY Geneseo’s journal of SUNY-wide peer-reviewed creative writing, Gandy Dancer, will have a booth at Pub Fair. Hope to see you there!


New publication by Lytton Smith

smithljThe latest issue of international digital poetry magazine Rattapallax contains a feature on British poetry by new assistant professor of English Lytton Smith.

Introducing five emerging British poets, Prof. Smith argues that “The dynamism and excitement of British poetry emerges from its internationalism, its reckoning with a world beyond (and, strikingly, inside) its shores.”

Rattapallax #22 is available as a download from the iTunes store. You can read Prof. Smith’s introduction to the feature here.

English department welcomes new faculty

Lytton Smith

smithljPoet, critic, scholar, playwright, and translator Dr. Lytton Smith joins the department as Assistant Professor. He comes to us from the University of Hertfordshire, where he was Lecturer in Creative Writing. At Columbia University, he was awarded M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in English and Comparative Literature, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. He holds a B.A. in English from University College, London.

Professor Smith is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently While You Were Approaching the Spectacle and Before You Were Transformed By It (2013). His poetry has appeared in such places as The Atlantic, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Greensboro Review, Laurel Review, and Tin House. His collection The All-Purpose Magical Tent won the Nightboat Prize in 2008.

Professor Smith’s critical writings focus on citizenship as well as poetry; he has an essay forthcoming in the volume In the Air: The Poetry of Peter Gizzi (Wesleyan University Press) and writes a monthly column for the Los Angeles Review of Books. He has authored two plays, and he wrote and co-produced the 2007 film Howard’s Way, a documentary about the poet Richard Howard.

Professor Smith’s translations from Icelandic include Kristin Ómarsdóttir’s Children in Reindeer Woods (2012), Bragi Ólafsson’s The Ambassador (2010), and poems by Magnús Sigur∂sson.

At SUNY Geneseo, Professor Smith will teach classes on general creative writing, the writing of poetry, literature, and humanities.

Jess Fenn

fenn Dr. Jess R. Fenn joins the department as Lecturer. She was most recently Visiting Assistant Professor in Medieval Literature and Culture at Birkbeck College, School of Arts, University of London. She holds M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, where she specialized in the literature of late medieval England. She also holds an M.A.T. from Hollins University and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

Professor Fenn has published scholarly work on Geoffrey Chaucer in Studies in Philology (2013). Her short fiction has appeared in such places as Versal, PANK Magazine, and Flash: The International Short-Story Magazine. Her nonfiction work “Where We Went and What We Did There” won the Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction in 2013.

At SUNY Geneseo, Professor Fenn will teach courses on general creative writing, first-year writing, and literature. She will also direct the college’s interdisciplinary program in Medieval Studies.

Steve West

westsjStephen J. West (SUNY Geneseo ’02) joins the department as Lecturer. Professor West was most recently Instructor in English at West Virginia University. He holds M.A. and M.F.A. degrees in English from the University of Iowa. He graduated magna cum laude from Geneseo with B.A. degrees in English and Art Studio.

Professor West’s creative work has appeared in such places as Fugue, Wag’s Revue,, Spittoon, The Baltimore Review, PANK, and Prime Number Magazine. He has served as editor and columnist for THIS Literary Magazine

At SUNY Geneseo, Professor West will teach courses in general creative writing and literature. In addition, he will help oversee the department’s new requirement in self-reflective advising.

Irene Belyakov

Irene Belyakov has been Lecturer and Coordinator of the English as a Second Language program at SUNY Geneseo since 2000. As a new member of the English department, she will continue in these responsibilities.

Professor Belyakov teaches courses on ESOL and offers workshops through Geneseo’s Teaching and Learning Center to educate faculty and staff about second language development. As we recently reported, she is the recipient of the Harter Endowment for Faculty Mentoring Award.

Christopher Guyol

Dr. Christopher Guyol joins the department as Adjunct Lecturer in English. He holds B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History, as well as a B.A. in Mathematics, from the University of Rochester, and an M.A. in Medieval History from the University of York. At SUNY Geneseo, Professor Guyol will teach courses in humanities.

Christopher Anderson

Christopher Anderson is a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He holds M.A. and M.Div. degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Grove City College. At SUNY Geneseo, he will teach courses in first-year writing.