Briefly Noted

Issue Date: 
October 22, 2007

Contemporary Writers Series Continues With Evening Readings, Panel Discussion

Four poets will be featured in two evening poetry readings and an afternoon panel discussion this week as part of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series.

Poets Jan Freeman and Allison Joseph will give a poetry reading Tuesday and poets April Ossmann and Martha Rhodes will read Wednesday; both readings are at 8:30 p.m. in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium.

All four writers will participate in a panel discussion, titled “Publishing Poets,” at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Room 501 Cathedral of Learning.

Freeman is the author of Simon Says (Paris Press, 2000), which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Since 1987, she has been a contributing editor of The American Poetry Review; she was also the recipient of the 1993 Cleveland State Poetry Center Award. Her work appeared in several publications, including The American Poetry Review, The Oxford Companion to Women Writers in the U.S., The Massachusetts Review, and Prairie Schooner. She founded Paris Press, a nonprofit independent press based in Ashfield, Mass., in 1995.

Joseph has published five books of poetry: What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand, 1992), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1997), In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2003), and Worldly Pleasures (Word Press, 2004). Her honors include the John C. Zacharis First Book Prize and the Judge Williams Holmes Cook Endowed Professorship. She also has won fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and Illinois Arts Council. She is the head of Southern Illinois University’s master’s degree program in creative writing.

Ossmann’s first collection of poems, Anxious Music, was published this month by Four Way Books. Her poetry also has been published in numerous journals, including Prairie Schooner, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and Seneca Review. She has received several awards for her poetry, including the Prairie Schooner Readers’ Choice Award in the summer of 2000. Ossmann has taught creative writing and literature courses at Lebanon College and the University of Maine at Farmington and is the executive director of Alice James Books, a poetry press founded in 1973.

Rhodes is the author of three collections of poetry: Mother Quiet (Zoo Press, 2004), Perfect Disappearance (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2000), and At the Gate (Provincetown Arts, 2000). She is director and founding editor of Four Way Books, a nonprofit literary press based in New York City that she and three partners founded in 1993. Rhodes publishes several collections a year out of her loft in Tribeca, N.Y., and hosts several poetry readings in her area. She teaches at New School University and at the Master of Fine Arts Program at Warren Wilson College.

Pitt’s Book Center, Women’s Studies Program, and University of Pittsburgh Press cosponsor the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series, which runs through April 2, 2008. All events in the writers series are free and open to the public.
—Tearsa Brown

Romanian Film Series Continues Through November

The new film series “Romanian Cinema on the Edge” began last week on campus and features a younger generation of filmmakers whose films focus on the Revolution of 1989 and on the social, economic, and interpersonal relationships that resulted from Romania’s transition to capitalism.

According to the organizers, the title of the series alludes to the “edgy styles” that dominate these movies, as well as to a national cinema that is “on the edge of well-deserved recognition, or just over the edge!”

“These are in-your-face stories that spare neither viewer nor characters,” said Irina Livezeanu, professor of East European Studies in Pitt’s Department of History in the School of Arts and Sciences and the film series’ curator. “The films are intense, gritty, low-budget productions through which the unglamorous realities of the ‘transition’ period are stared down. They focus on familiar characters in recognizable circumstances, in which Romanian audiences can see themselves.”

Films are shown free of charge at 7 p.m. in Bellefield Hall Auditorium. The remaining film screenings in the series are:

  • Thursday: The Paper Will Be Blue (Radu Muntean, 2006). The film reconstitutes the bleak atmosphere in Romania during the revolution of December 1989, focusing on a moment when the long-awaited fall of the Communist regime was still in question.
  • Friday: 12:08 East of Bucharest (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2006). On the 16th anniversary of Romania’s revolution, a small town journalist plans a discussion about the uprising on his daily talk show “Issue of the Day.” The live debate turns into a confrontation between the two guests and callers contesting the guests’ claims.
  • Nov. 1: Occident (Cristian Mungiu, 2002). This film captures the difficult interpersonal relationships of the young generation during the post-Communist era. The backdrop of all three intertwined stories is the fantasy of escaping to the West. Mungiu’s film 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days won The Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival this year.
  • Nov. 2: California Dreamin’ (Cristian Nemescu, 2007). Inspired by an actual incident during the war in Kosovo in 1999, California Dreamin’ is a drama that illustrates Romanians’ fascination with the American dream.

The “Romanian Cinema on the Edge” film series is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Department of History, Graduate Program for Cultural Studies, Film Studies Program, and Center for Russian and East European Studies; The Pittsburgh Romanian Studies Group; and the Romanian Cultural Institute of New York, with assistance from the Romanian National Center for Cinematography.

For more information, contact Irina Livezeanu at 412-648-7466 or
—Anthony M. Moore