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Event Details

Thursday, April 29

7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Event Contact

Eric Eickhoff

eeickhoff@jcu.edu

Based on two years living and researching in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, What Though the Field Be Lost uses the battlefield there as a way to engage ongoing issues involving race, regional identity, and the ethics of memory.  With empathy and humility, Kempf reveals the overlapping planes of historical past and public present, integrating archival material—language from monuments, soldiers' letters, eyewitness accounts of the battle—with reflection on present-day social and political unrest.  Here monument protests, police shootings, and heated battle reenactments expose the ambivalences and evasions involved in the consolidation of national (and nationalist) identity.  In What Though the Field Be Lost, Kempf shows that, though the Civil War may be over, the field at Gettysburg and all that it stands for remain sharply contested.  

Christopher Kempf '07 is the author of the poetry collections What Though the Field Be Lost (LSU, 2021) and Late in the Empire of Men, which won the 2015 Levis Prize from Four Way Books and has been reviewed widely, including in The New York Times. His scholarly book, Writing Craft: The Workshop in American Culture, is forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press.

Recipient of a Pushcart Prize, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, his poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in Best American Poetry (2020), Boston Review, Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, The New Republic, and PEN America, among others.  His scholarship appears in American Literary History (ALH), English Literary History (ELH), and Modernism/modernity.

Kempf holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Chicago, an MFA from Cornell University, and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Illinois.

George Bilgere’s seventh collection of poetry is Blood Pages (2018), He has received the Midland Authors Prize, the May Swenson Poetry Award, a Pushcart Prize, an NEA grant, and the Cleveland Arts Prize. He has given poetry readings at the Library of Congress, the 92nd Street Y in New York, and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. His work is familiar to NPR listeners because of his appearances on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac. He teaches in the English Department at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he lives with his wife and two fine little boys.

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