Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The House Tour

Alison Lurie, who visits us on Thursday, September 18, is a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist who applies her wit and insight to the meaning of ordinary architecture in her new book,  The Language of Houses (2014).

The book is reviewed by Kathleen Hirsch in the Boston Globe:

Lurie serves as able guide on an opening overview of basic architectural themes: style, scale, materials. Concepts such as formal and informal, open and shut, darkness and light, as well as the influences of foreign and regional idioms, become the building blocks on which she proceeds into her discussion of dwellings. We learn that the simple, unadorned, home intended to convey “green” values, often uses “old bricks and boards that in fact cost more than new ones,” while a suburban McMansion’s pricey entrance is coupled with cheap siding and exposed ductwork out back. She chronicles the evolution of the Colonial meeting house into Gothic worship sites that are mini-theaters with their raised altars, lavish pipe organs, and stage lighting. Gender differences abound: In homes and offices, men prefer what she calls “prospects”; women, “refuge.”

More in the Globe:

More about Lurie and upcoming events:

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Alison Lurie's new book in the Wall St. Journal

The Language of Houses by Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and reigning NYS Author Alison Lurie (who visits us on Thurs. 9/18) is reviewed in the Wall St. Journal:

Le Corbusier may have decreed that the house should be "a machine for living," but Alison Lurie knows architecture carries a far greater moral charge than such minimalist efficiency implies. In "The Language of Houses," she takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the social and psychological significance of private and public structures: schools, churches, government buildings, museums, prisons, hospitals, hotels, restaurants and of course homes. She makes a powerful argument that how we choose to order the space we live and work in reveals far more about us, our place in the world and our preoccupations than we know. Architectural design is both a mirror and molder of human experience.... The Language of Houses is a mine of adroit observation, uncovering apparently humdrum details to reveal their unexpected, and occasionally poignant, human meaning.

More in the Wall St. Journal

More about Lurie's visit:

More on the upcoming Visiting Writers Series:

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Author Sherry Lee Mueller presents "Working World" 9/19

"Working World is an essential guide to international careers for a new generation of Americans eager to see, feel, and change their world." --  John Zogby, founder of the Zogby Poll

The University at Albany School of Public Health will host Sherry Lee Mueller, coauthor of Working World, 2nd edition (2014). The book explores "how the idea of an international career has shifted: nearly every industry taking on more and more international dimensions, while international skills -- linguistic ability, intercultural management, and sensitivity -- become ever more highly prized by potential employers."

Date: Friday, September 19, 2014

Time: 12:00 noon – 1:15 PM

Location: School of Public Health Auditorium
George Education Center
UAlbany East Campus
1 University Place
Rensselaer, NY 12144

RSVP: Please register and confirm your attendance by emailing by Monday, September 15th

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"I, the Worst of All," Opens Classic Film Series

"Engrossing, enriching, and elegant!" - Boston Globe
"Passionate, riveting, magnificent! One of the year's best!" - New York Post
"An erotically charged impassioned work! Assumpta Serna is luminous!" - Village Voice
September 19 (Friday)
Film screening — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Directed by María Luisa Bemberg | Argentina, 1990, 105 minutes, color, in Spanish with English subtitles. Starring Assumpta Serna, Dominique Sanda, Héctor Alterio

Based on a biography by Nobel laureate Octavio Paz, this film tells the story of the embattled 17th century nun, Sor Juana, who would come to be regarded as the mother of Mexican literature.
Screened in conjunction with an appearance by distinguished translator Edith Grossman (see September 23 Visiting Writers Series listing), who presents her new collection of works by Sor Juana.
More about our upcoming visit with Edith Grossman, translator into English of Sor Juana, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Octavio Paz, Don Quixote, and numerous classics of Spanish literature:

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Edith Grossman

Latin American Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude) famously said that he preferred his novels in English translation by Gregory Rabassa (who visited the Writers Institute in 2006) and Edith Grossman (who will visit the Writers Institute on Tuesday, September 23, 2014).

Here is an excerpt from Edith Grossman's speech about translating Marquez at the 2003 PEN Tribute to the late Columbian author (1927-2014) whose work had a transformative impact on global literature:

"Ralph Maheim, the great translator from the German, compared the translator to an actor who speaks as the author would if the author spoke English. A sophisticated and provocative analogy, for it takes into account something that is not always as clear as it should be, at least to many reviewers, whose highest endorsement for a translation tends to be that it is “seamless.” If I may attempt to translate the damnation barely concealed in their faint praise, I think they really mean that the translator has, with proper humility, made herself or himself “invisible,” a punishing goal that is desirable only if we are held personally responsible for the Tower of Babel and all its dire consequences for our species."

Full text here:

More about Grossman's visit:

Complete schedule of events:

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Monday, September 8, 2014

William Gibson, The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, coming to Troy, NY

The Guardian celebrates the 30th birthday of the science fiction novel Neuromancer by William Gibson, scifi author and technology prophet (according to many). Gibson visits RPI under the cosponsorship of the New York State Writers Institute, on Sunday, November 9th.

More about Gibson's upcoming event:

From the Guardian:

On its release, Neuromancer won the "big three" for science fiction: the Nebula, Philip K Dick and Hugo awards. It sold more than 6m copies and launched an entire aesthetic: cyberpunk. In predicting this future, Gibson can be said to have helped shape our conception of the internet. Other novelists are held in higher esteem by literary critics, but few can claim to have had such a wide-ranging influence. The Wachowskis made The Matrix by mashing Gibson's vision together with that of French philosopher Jean Baudrillard. Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander is a facsimile of Molly Millions, the femme fatale in Neuromancer. Every social network, online game or hacking scandal takes us a step closer to the universe Gibson imagined in 1984.

More in the Guardian:

Full schedule of upcoming events:

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NYS Poet Marie Howe in the Huffington Post

"This morning I stumbled upon the poetry of Marie Howe, and once again I'm humbled by the power of words on a page, and a writer's ability to bestow meaning to feelings that would otherwise remain forever trapped inside me. In a recent podcast interview, the poet Marie Howe was speaking of the power of words to reveal the human condition, and how the older she gets, the more of herself she unmasks through her writing. She later said, 'to be able to move through your life transparently would be a relief.'"

More in the Huffington Post:

Reigning New York State Poet Marie Howe visits the Writers Institute on Tuesday, October 21st with fellow poets Edward Hirsch and Kimiko Hahn.

For a full schedule of events, visit our webpage:

For more about NY State Poet Marie Howe:

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