What to Do This Fall: Literature
Peruse the fall literary listings—in rhyme
By Brangien Davis
August 24, 2015
This season’s wealth of literary proceedings
Makes clear that Seattle is a hot spot for readings.
We’ll start things off with the surfeit of memoirists
painting impressions with a skill that’s Renoir-ish.
Writing as if to his own teenage son,
Ta-Nehisi Coates sings the black man unsung.
Steinem reveals her early days as Gloria,
transporting readers to feminist euphoria.
Alison Bechdel pens comics with tooth,
using graphic-novel bite to tell her truth.
Sandra Cisneros limns life as a Latina,
true stories polished to a fine patina.
But wait! There’s much more autobiography,
Let’s rock and roll into the realm of discography.
Take Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney,
whose new book gives us the punk-rock skinny.
While Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses
reveals how music fame often abuses.
And, thank goddess, Patti Smith is back!
With M Train, she’s barreling down the track.
We can learn much from the nonfiction writers,
so applaud with vigor and hold up your lighters.
Eat, Pray, Love was her first proclivity,
now Elizabeth Gilbert is fostering creativity.
Can working women ever have it all?
Anne-Marie Slaughter lays down the law.
And Philip Warburg joins Denis Hayes
to talk of power gleaned from sun rays.
Humorous history by way of Sarah Vowell
makes General Lafayette good for a howl.
Speaking of funny, here’s David Sedaris
with essays gut-busting (in Latin: hilaris).
With fall comes the longing to read a great novel.
These authors have complied—no need to grovel.
Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights,
by Salman Rushdie, spawns apocalyptic delights.
Erica Jong, who wrote Fear of Flying,
is bringing sexy back with Fear of Dying.
Isabel Allende takes The Japanese Lover
and tells a big love story under the covers.
Dinaw Mengestu, a proven tour de force,
shares new work along the theme “beating a dead horse.”
And with his new book ’bout a girl without eyesight
Anthony Doerr won the Pulitzer Prize fight.
The lineup continues—it’s jam-packed with Jonathans.
Novelists all? Oh ho, the plot thickens!
Franzen’s latest is no hocus-pocus;
critics say Purity is his magnum opus.
Lethem’s new book deals with body vitality;
he joins David Shields to speak of mortality.
And finally, there’s Evison (of Bainbridge Island),
whose Harriet Chance is big and beguilin’.
But let’s say short stories are more to your liking.
Choose from two masters—both of them striking.
Joy Williams! Oh, joy! Her dark wit’s the smartest.
The Visiting Privilege proves her strength as an artist.
And Thirteen Ways of Looking is all about chance;
it’s Colum McCann’s invitation to dance.
At last, never least, we welcome the poets
For who better knows whither our hearts goeth?
Saul Williams, a slam poet with wise words to say,
brings hip-hop inflection to his book US (a.)
Priscilla Long’s newest spans all sorts of bridges,
Crossing Over is talent profound and prodigious.
On a visit from Portland, Matthew Dickman makes time—
bid cheers to the wordsmith on his new Guggenheim.
Linda Pastan’s Insomnia has sleep at stake,
But oh, the places you’ll go when you’re awake.
The light at the end of the couplets draws near…
Now go forth and relish the readings this year!
Jonathan Franzen, 9/9. 7:30 p.m. Town Hall
Jonathan Evison, 9/10. 7 p.m. Elliott Bay Book Company
Dinaw Mengestu, 9/11. 7:30 p.m. Hugo House
Salman Rushdie, 9/14. 7:30 p.m. Town Hall
Erica Jong, 9/18. 7 p.m. Elliott Bay Book Company
Priscilla Long, 9/19. 7 p.m. Elliott Bay Book Company
Joy Williams, 9/22. 7 p.m. Elliott Bay Book Company
Matthew Dickman, 9/29. 7 p.m. Hugo House
Philip Warburg with Denis Hayes, 9/30. 7:30 p.m. Town Hall
Anne-Marie Slaughter, 10/5. 7:30 p.m. Town Hall
Colum McCann, 10/20. 7 p.m. Seattle Public Library
Sarah Vowell, 10/28. 7 p.m. Neptune Theatre
Kristin Hersh, 10/29. 7 p.m. Elliott Bay Book Company
Sandra Cisneros, 11/5. 7 p.m. Elliott Bay Book Company
Carrie Brownstein, 11/6. 7 p.m. Neptune Theatre
Jonathan Lethem with David Shields, 11/13. 7 p.m. Hugo House
David Sedaris, 11/15. 7:30 p.m. Benaroya Hall
Explore more 2015 Fall Arts events here.