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Visiting Writers Series reading with poet & memoirist C.S. Giscombe


C.S. Giscombe Poetry & Memoir Reading


Visiting Writers Series YouTube channel

About the event

C.S. Giscombe is the author of many books, including the forthcoming Similarly, four poetry volumes, and a selection of new poems. His most recent books are Ohio Railroads (2014, a long poem in the form of an essay, including maps), Border Towns (2016, essays having to do with poetry), and Overlapping Apexes (2017, a long poem). Earlier books include Prairie Style (2008), the memoir Into and Out of Dislocation (2000), and Giscome Road (1998). Giscombe’s poetry and prose has been reprinted in Best American Poetry, Oxford Anthology of African American Poetry, Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry, Bluesprint: Black British Columbia Literature and Orature, and elsewhere. Poetry books in progress are Negro Mountain and Train Music, a collaboration with the painter and collagist Judith Margolis chronicling the cross-country train trip the two made together in 2017 and an inquiry into the social spaces of white supremacy. Giscombe has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fund for Poetry. His work earned the 2010 Stephen Henderson Award in Poetry and the 1998 Carl Sandburg Prize. He has taught at Cornell, Syracuse University, Illinois State University, Pennsylvania State University and currently is the Robert Haas Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

1-Credit Workshop: Writing as Social Practice

MARCH 22-24, 2021, 6:00-8:30 P.M. PT | ZOOM | OPEN TO WSU STUDENTS

One of the ideas behind this course taught by C.S. Giscombe is that poetry and essays (life-writing, creative nonfiction, “essaying,” etc.) have similar aims or field-marks—both are literary vehicles of exploration and documentation, both value experimental approaches, and both traffic with versions of the incomplete. Another idea is that various wide particulars make up each of us—social class, race, ability, gender, place of birth, etc. These particulars endow us with privileges, deficits, blindnesses, insights, and the like. Prompts in this course will encourage students to document these and explore how they qualify us (and how or if they obligate us) to “speak” from various positions. The purpose of writing in this course is to engage public language on the one hand and personal (meaning specific) observations and experiences on the other. The purpose here is to pursue consciousness. The experiment is to attempt to do so in the forms of poetry and the personal essay. A third idea is that hybrid forms—works that defy a single characterization or order, works that join rather than exclude—are of great interest. To register, contact Leisa McCormick at: or 509-335-0496.

We are grateful to our collaborators for C.S. Giscombe’s Reading and Workshop: WSU-Vancouver Office of Equity and Diversity; WSU-Vancouver Office of Student Equity and Outreach; WSU-Vancouver Office of Academic Affairs; WSU-Vancouver College of Arts and Sciences; WSU-Tri-Cities Writing Center; WSU Common Reading Program; ASWSU; Landescapes, The Student Literary Journal.


Cameron McGill