Hugo Literary Series: Family Ties
We all have families—parents, siblings, step-whatevers, distant cousins we hear about but rarely see. We are tied to these people, if not through love then through blood, if not through blood then through marriage. But what does that tie mean when some treat it more as a suggestion than a rule?
On March 14, you’ll hear ruminations on this question by David Guterson, Northwest native and author of the bestselling novel Snow Falling on Cedars; Matthew Dickman, cutting-edge poet and Tin House poetry editor; and Wendy Call, Seattle nonfiction writer, writer-in-residence at multiple national parks, and author of No Word for Welcome.
About the Writers
David Guterson is the author of Snow Falling on Cedars, recipient of the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award; East of the Mountains; Our Lady of the Forest; The Other; and Ed King. Songs for a Summons (University of Washington Press) is his first poetry book.
Matthew Dickman‘s first full-length collection, All American Poem, won the 2008 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize in Poetry. His most recent collection is Mayakovsky’s Revolver (Norton). He is the poetry editor of Tin House Magazine.
Wendy Call is a recent writer-in-residence at a dozen locales, including national parks, universities, a public hospital, and Richard Hugo House. Her 2011 book No Word for Welcome won the 2011 Grub Street National Book Prize for Nonfiction.
Rick Miller‘s songs have been heard coming out of his own and other people’s mouths on Seattle stages for the last fifteen years. Probably best known as one-third of relentlessly strange and wonderful neo-bluegrass trio the Half Brothers, his penchant for story songs with unreliable narrators and gorgeous melodies has garnered notice from critics and audiences alike on stages throughout Seattle. His songs have graced productions like Kittens in Cage, Heartsare Monsters, Shadow Odyssey, Blind Spot, the Cowgirl Play, and Gone Are the Days. Here he presents a solo performance of his own idiosyncratic pieces.
About the Theme
We all have families—parents, siblings, step-whatevers, distant cousins we hear about but rarely see. We are tied to these people, if not through love then through blood, if not through blood then through marriage. But what does that tie mean when some treat it more as a suggestion than a rule? From Casey Anthony to the Menendez Brothers to Woody Allen and Soon-Yi, the news ticker is teeming with stories of family drama gone too far. While most of our families might not be as scandalous, they can be so complicated with conflict that we grit our teeth over turkey dinner, snapping the wish bone hoping next year’s holidays are different. Why are our ties to the people we should love the most often full of knots? And what can we do to unknot them before our families become more like the Corleones than the Cleavers?