DELVE READERS SEMINARS cultivate readers and a community for the shared experience of reading.
UPCOMING DELVE SEMINARS
Stay tuned: The full season of 19/20 Delve seminars will be announced July 30, 2019. You can find them here on our website.
Escape from the Dollhouse
September 1, 2019 – October 13, 2019 (no meetings September 22)
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Guide: Coleman Stevenson Tuition: $220
Click here to register
This Delve will examine stories from different literary genres and periods that all uniquely address the topic of personal freedom in conflict with societal pressures and control over the individual. Our texts will include Margaret Atwood’s much anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and a selection of poems by various authors. Registration for this Delve includes a ticket to Margaret Atwood in Conversation with Omar El Akkad on September 25th at Keller Auditorium.
Margaret Atwood, The Testaments. (Participants should pre-order the new Atwood book if possible to ensure they receive it in time for class readings.)
Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House
Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Read Act 1 and 2 of A Doll’s House
Participants are also encouraged to read or refresh their memories of The Handmaid’s Tale prior to this Delve.
Coleman Stevenson is an illustrator, writer, tarot practitioner. She is the artist behind the Dark Exact Tarot Deck and author of two poetry books, Breakfast: 43 Poems and The Accidental Rarefication of Pattern #5609. She is co-curator of The Doppelgänger Museum, a multimedia collaboration with artist and sound designer Aspen Farer. She has taught a variety of subjects at institutions around Portland, including creative writing, literature, folklore, culture & design, and image & text interaction.
Richard Powers’ The Overstory and the Nature Writings of John Muir
Thursdays, September 19 – November 7, 2019 (no meeting on September 26 or October 31)
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (six sessions)
Guide: Lucas Bernhardt
Click here to register
In this Delve seminar, we will compare the ecological writing of Richard Powers and John Muir. Powers’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Overstory, comes to us at a time when concern for preserving natural spaces has exploded into anxiety over the planet’s very future. While grappling with deforestation and global warming in fiction, Powers sees himself as a realist. He asks, “Which is more childish, naïve, romantic, or mystical: the belief that we can get away with making Earth revolve around our personal appetites and fantasies, or the belief that a vast, multi-million-pronged project four and a half billion years old deserves a little reverent humility?” Muir, something of a father for the national parks movement, used an ecological perspective in his stories of adventure and exploration in the Sierras roughly a decade before it occurred to scientists in the region to think in such terms. Powers and Muir are writers for whom awe and wonder are essential, not merely for personal transformation, but as a way to call our attention to meaning and experience outside of the personal sphere.
Lucas Bernhardt earned MAs in English and in Writing from Portland State University, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He manages the Portland State University Writing Center and is managing editor of Propeller Quarterly, a literature and art magazine.
Wednesdays, September 11–October 16, 2019
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (six sessions)
Guide: Christopher Zinn
Robert Frost and Wallace Stevens were two of the most important modern American poets. Their collected poems represent distinct and original responses to twentieth century literary modernism and to the culture of their time. And unlike T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, they did not gain early notoriety through radical technique or bold pronouncement. Drawn as they were to the international currents of modernism, they also remained rooted in the American scene and developed their own, deeply personal approaches to becoming modern poets. As they grew as poets and slowly published their work, the value and enormity of their achievement was gradually recognized. Frost was no longer seen as a regional poet of a vanishing rural world, and Stevens was recognized as more than a home-grown aesthete exploring the beauty of language for its own sake. By mid-century, Frost and Stevens, each in their own way, were recognized as major poets, both deeply philosophical and original, with a body of work that used familiar poetic forms to register complex feelings and perceptions in a troubled time.
In this seminar we will read and study the work of both poets closely, focusing on major long poems by each author while also ranging across their collected works in order to develop a full picture of the life and work of each poet and the significance and value of their accomplishment.
Christopher Zinn grew up in Pine City, New York, and was educated at Georgetown and at New York University, where he received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature. Christopher currently teaches humanities at the Portland Waldorf High School. 2019/2020 marks his thirteenth season as a Delve Guide.
Tuition discounts are available for Delve seminars. Apply to participate in the Delve Access Rate Program here.
Learn more about volunteering for Delve.
Read past seminar summaries on the Literary Arts blog.