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Poet Tracy K. Smith Visits Castilleja Next Week!

Poet Tracy K. Smith Visits Castilleja Next Week!

Poet Tracy K. Smith, in addition to being one of the most awarded poets of her generation, is a poet who explores race, family, faith, and the strange idiosyncrasies of our existence through a deeply personal lens. Her hypnotic, surprising, even absurd, work offers elegant socio political commentary in vivid verse. She has explored her challenging ideas and poignant stories in three collections of poetry and her memoir. Her work has met much critical acclaim, with Publisher’s Weekly’s starred review noting her “lyric brilliance and political impulses.” She is currently the director of Princeton University’s Creative Writing program.

She obtained her BA from Harvard University, an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University, and held the Wallace Stegner fellowship at Stanford University from 1997 to 1999. Her first collection of poetry, The Body’s Question (2003), explores the intersection of race and family, and addresses the difficulties of confronting loss. It won the Cave Canem prize for the best debut work by an African American writer. Her second, Duende (2007), explores the history of often ignored cultures, as well as sharing stories of personal survival and political change. In 2006, it won the American Academy of Poets’ James Laughlin award. Her most recent collection, Life on Mars (2011), is a powerful elegy for her father, a scientist who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope, that won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2012. It explores both the boundaries of space and civilization, as well as the beautiful reality of the mundane. Just as Life on Mars paid homage to her father, her memoir, Ordinary Light (2015), is for her mother. Detailing her experiences from childhood, to her coming of age, till the present day, Ms. Smith dissects the same critical issues addressed in her earlier poetry through a deeply personal lense. Ordinary Light was a finalist for the National Book Award. For her compelling body of work, she received the 2014 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, as well as numerous other awards, fellowships, and grants including a Rona Jaffe Award and a Whiting Award.

As this year’s Arrillaga speaker, she will be speaking at an all school assembly on October 6, after which there will be a reception for faculty and parents. On October 7, students are invited to attend a roundtable discussion with her. Ms. Smith will also be visiting English classes over these two days. Look forward to hearing from this evocative poet and author, and come to the Library to read her mesmerizing work!

–Arushi G. ’18

 

Header picture: tksmith5_cMarlene Lillian: Poet Tracy K. Smith by Tulane Public Relations/Marlene Lillian licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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American History with the U.S. Census

American History with the U.S. Census

History lovers ahoy! Back in 2014 the U.S. Census website started doing something awesome. Each month on their homepage they take a significant event or person and do a fascinating write-up about it using Census data.

Topics they’ve covered include:

Barnum and Bailey Circus poster from the Library of Congress

Gone with the Wind and the early American film industry

The Galveston Hurricane, still the deadliest natural disaster to strike the United States

P.T. Barnum and the Barnum & Bailey Circus

For September, they have a write up on President McKinley, who is often overshadowed by his successor Theodore Roosevelt. The article featured on the home page changes every month though, so be sure to check back in October and see what’s new!

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Upcoming Bay Area Author and Literary Events

Upcoming Bay Area Author and Literary Events

Jeff Chang, author of We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation739720-250
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
7:30pm
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

callaCalla Devlin, author of Tell Me Something Real
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
7:00pm
Books Inc.
601 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traci Chee, author of The Reader, in conversation with Stacey Leecover of The Reader by Traci Chee
Friday, September 16, 2016
7:00pm
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
RSVP here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Mostly Void, Partially Starscover of The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, creators of Welcome to Night Vale in conversation with Mallory Ortberg
Monday, September 19
7:30 p.m.
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Tickets available here

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of How to Clone a Mammoth
Dr. Beth Shapiro
, author of How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction.
Monday, September 19, 2016 – 5:30pm
Books Inc.
301 Castro St
Mountain View, CA
More information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9781481443395

Scott Westerfeld, author of Swarm
Monday, September 26, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025
RSVP Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julian Guthrie, author of How to Make a Spaceship 749496-250
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
7:30 p.m.
Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park CA 94025

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan-Safran-Foer-City-Arts-&-LecturesJonathan Safran Foer and his new novel, Here I Am
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
 7:30pm
Nourse Theatre
275 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA

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Four to Read More: September 11, 2001

Four to Read More: September 11, 2001

This Sunday marks the anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001. Of course, most of our students are too young to really remember the attack, so if you’re curious about what living through that day and the aftermath was like, here are four books that give a good window into the time.

towers

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Deja doesn’t understand why what happened to the Twin Towers matters, or why her dad gets so angry whenever anyone brings it up. It happened before she was even born. But as she begins to research what happened on September 11th, she realizes how much it still effects her world.

 

somewhere

Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

Emma feels caught between her mother’s America and her father’s Japan, not quite belonging in either. As she spends her summer in Japan, waiting for her baby sister to be born, circumstances conspire to extend her family’s stay until September–when the Towers fall and she watches from the other side of the world.

 

 

all have left

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills

16 year old Jesse is still reeling from her brother’s death during the 9/11 attacks when she makes a destructive choice and must face the past. In 2001, proud Muslim Alia goes to argue with her dad, at his office in the Towers. When the attack comes, she must trust a strange boy if she is to survive.

 

up frome

Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz

In 2011, Kai’s village in Japan is hit by a devastating tsunami. In one day, he loses almost everything and everyone he cares about. When he is later offered a trip to New York to meet other kids whose lives were impacted by 9/11 ten years earlier, he realizes that not only can he meet people who understand what he’s going through, but he can also look for his estranged American father.

 

Featured image: “Void -Night view of the National September 11 Memorial” by Aaron Web, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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