Find Your Place: Literary Events at This Week’s Sensoria Festival

Charlotte Lit is a proud partner for CPCC’s fantastic Sensoria: A Celebration of Literature and the Arts, April 6-15. We’re honored this year to present with Sensoria the Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award to Maureen Ryan Griffin, and to have U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith as our featured poet for our 9th 4X4CLT Poetry+Art poster series.

In March 1999, CPCC featured Anne Lamott, author of the classic writing how-to Bird by Bird, as part of their annual literary festival. It’s a date I’ve committed to memory because I was there in the mid-morning audience, my two-month old son nestled in my lap, while my oldest two children were in preschool. As a brain-fried new mother, I was desperate for words, for meaning, for support of the notion that writing was a worthy and necessary endeavor. The theme for that year’s festival was “A Sense of Place: Writers in Community” and being there opened the door to the local writing community for me. These 19 years later, that baby is a freshman in college and the literary festival has grown into the 10-day Sensoria Festival, but that sense of welcome and community remains.

George Saunders, winner of the National Book Award and the keynote lecturer of last year’s festival, called Sensoria “one of the very best of its kind in the world.” There are a multitude of events—film screenings, opera, theatre, music, and more—across six CPCC campuses, but writers and readers should take note of the following opportunities to connect with the literary community:

Monday 4/9, 10:30 am at Tate Hall, Central Campus: When Literature Becomes Myth: Celebrating 200 Years of Frankenstein. In last week’s Litmosphere, David Poston beautifully enumerated why Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel is relevant these 200 years later. Leslie Klinger, editor of the New Annotated Frankenstein, speaks about the landmark science fiction novel at this talk.

Monday 4/9, 6 pm (reception), 7 pm (reading) at Tate Hall, Central Campus: Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award Presentation and Reading. Charlotte Lit is honored to co-sponsor this award, named after Honeycutt who was an early and enthusiastic supporter of our organization. This year’s honor goes to Maureen Ryan Griffin, a poet and non-fiction writer, who in her work as a writing coach has propelled her students to a deeper understanding of the art. Join us in celebrating her contributions to the literary community. Sweets deliciously provided by Sunflour Baking Company.

Tuesday 4/10, 9:30 am at Levine Campus: Local Author Spotlight–Bryn ChancellorAuthor of the Oprah Magazine Top Pick Sycamore, UNCC Professor, and Charlotte Lit instructor Bryn Chancellor discusses the craft of writing. This event caps off Levine Reads, a campus-wide common read initiative.

Tuesday 4/10, 11 am at Levine Campus: Writing Workshop: Framing Our Experience: A Life in Pieces. Inspired by a micro-memoir workshop led by Charlotte Lit’s December 4x4CLT author Beth Ann Fennelly, CPCC English faculty members Jaime Pollard-Smith and Elizabeth West invite participants to explore the genre of creative non-fiction by writing small, vivid scenes drawn from daily life.

Wednesday 4/11, 8 pm in Pease Auditorium, Central Campus: Irene Blair Honeycutt Distinguished Lecturer: US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.

“As all the best poetry does, “Life on Mars”first sends us out into the magnificent chill of the imagination and then returns us to ourselves, both changed and consoled.”  –The New York Times Sunday Book Review

Tracy K. Smith, author of four poetry collections including the Pulitzer-winning Life on Marsand the just-released Wade in the Water, reads and discusses her work. Just appointed to a second term as US Poet Laureate, Smith’s mission is to bring poetry to rural communities. Charlotte Lit’s April 4X4CLT poetry and art poster series— featuring Smith’s poems, along with art by Isaac Payne and Felicia van Bork—will be released and displayed at this event. Smith will read a second time on Thursday 4/12, 11 am in Halton Theater, Central Campus.

Thursday 4/12, 9:30 am in Tate Hall, Central Campus: Regional Author Spotlight: Jon PinedaPineda is a core faculty member of the low-residency MFA program at Queens University and is the author of poetry, memoir, and fiction, including his latest novel Let’s No One Get Hurt.

Thursday 4/12, 3 pm (Artist’s Lecture) Tate Hall, Central Campus and 6:30 pm (Opening Reception) Ross Gallery, Central Campus: Featured Visual Artist Felicia van Bork: color + color = spaceIn her “How to” series, van Bork uses her own torn and cut monotype prints to create large-scale collages, two of which are featured on April’s 4X4CLT poetry and art poster series. In the afternoon, van Bork discusses her artwork which will be displayed in an exhibit opening that evening in the Ross Gallery.

Lisa Zerkle’s poems have appeared in The Collagist, Comstock Review, Southern Poetry Anthology, Broad River Review, Tar River Poetry, Nimrod, Sixfold, poemmemoirstory, Crucible, and Main Street Rag, among others. Author of the chapbook, Heart of the Light, she has served as President of the North Carolina Poetry Society, community columnist for The Charlotte Observer, and editor of Kakalak. She is the curator of Charlotte Lit’s 4X4CLT, a public art and poetry series.