Tuesday, August 18 at 7PM CDT
John Freeman & A. Kendra Greene
The Park & The Museum of Whales You Will Never See
This event will be broadcast live via Zoom
- Digital Doors Open at 6:45PM CDT
- Event Begins at 7:00PM CDT
NOTE: Because this is a virtual event that will be hosted on Zoom, you will need access to a computer or other device that is capable of accessing and sufficient Internet access. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.
ABOUT THE PARK
John Freeman explores how parks—tiny microcosims of the world—are simultaneously natural and constructed, exclusionary and open, welcome and threatening.
In The Park, his second book of poetry, John Freeman uses a park as a petri dish, turning a deep gaze on all that pass through it. In language both precise and restrained, Freeman explores the inherent contradictions that arise from a place whose purpose is derived purely from what we bring to it––a park is both natural and constructed, exclusionary and open, unfeeling and burdened with sentimentality. Pulling from both history and his own meditations in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, the seasons pass through famous parks, personal parks, parks beneath parks, and other spaces with fabricated outer limits. Throughout, Freeman wonders at how a park, being both curated and public, can be a nexus for a manifestation of great wealth inequality. How have we created these false boundaries for ourselves––with regard to physical space, but also in our minds and societies, in our personal relationships? Freeman plucks out difference in small daily dramas of people and animals only to dissolve it. Interspersed with meditations on love, beauty, and connection, The Park is a pacific and unflinching mirror cast upon a space defined by its transience.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF WHALES YOU WILL NEVER SEE
Mythic creatures, natural wonders, and the mysterious human impulse to collect are on beguiling display in this poetic tribute to the museums of an otherworldly island nation.
Iceland is home to only 330,000 people (roughly the population of Lexington, Kentucky) but more than 265 museums and public collections—nearly one for every ten people. They range from the intensely physical, like the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which collects the penises of every mammal known to exist in Iceland, to the vaporously metaphysical, like the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, which poses a particularly Icelandic problem: How to display what can’t be seen?
In The Museum of Whales You Will Never See, A. Kendra Greene is our wise and whimsical guide through this cabinet of curiosities, showing us, in dreamlike anecdotes and more than thirty charming illustrations, how a seemingly random assortment of objects—a stuffed whooper swan, a rubber boot, a shard of obsidian, a chastity belt for rams—can map a people’s past and future, their fears and obsessions. “The world is chockablock with untold wonders,” she writes, “there for the taking, ready to be uncovered at any moment, if only we keep our eyes open.”
ABOUT JOHN FREEMAN
John Freeman is an American writer and literary critic. The former president of the National Book Critics Circle, Freeman is the editor of Freeman’s, a literary biannual, author of two books of nonfiction, The Tyranny of E-mail and How to Read a Novelist, and of one book of poetry, Maps. Described by Dave Eggers as “one of the preeminent book people of our time,” he has also edited two anthologies of writing on inequality, Tales of Two Cities and Tales of Two Americas. The former editor of Granta, he lives in New York, where he teaches at The New School and is Distinguished Writer-in Residence at New York University. The executive editor at LitHub, he has published poems in Zyzzyva, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Nation. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.
ABOUT A. KENDRA GREENE
A. Kendra Greene is a writer and artist who has worked at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Chicago History Museum, the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, and the Dallas Museum of Art, where she was a writer in residence. She has an MFA in nonfiction and a graduate certificate in book arts from the University of Iowa and has been the recipient of a Fulbright grant, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, and a Harvard Library Innovation Lab Fellowship. She lives in Dallas, Texas, where she is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas, a guest artist at Nasher Sculpture Center, and an associate editor at Southwest Review.
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