LANGUAGE, CITIZENSHIP, ACTIVISM: A PANEL DISCUSSION WITH JOHN FREEMAN ON HIS NEW BOOK DICTIONARY OF THE UNDOING
Talking Leaves, in conjunction with Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, is pleased to present poet, editor, and critic John Freeman for a discussion of his new book, Dictionary of the Undoing (MCD x FSG Originals) with a panel of local citizens including Rahwa Ghirmatzion of PUSH Buffalo and Eric Gansworth of Canisius College, to be moderated by Sam Magavern of the Partnership for the Public Good. The event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase on site or in advance at Talking Leaves.
Dictionary of the Undoing is a necessary, resounding outcry in defense of language, meaning, and our ability to imagine, describe, and build a better world. In her afterword, Valeria Luiselli says “it is a book that makes you think, then rethink. It invites you to engage with it, to refute it, to contribute to it.” Our panelists will do just that, engaging with the author and audience around the issues of language and activism and citizenship that are a focus of his book, a call to assume the same greater stewardship for our language and its uses that we must for the planet.
Rahwa Ghirmatzion left Eritrea with her family as a refugee when she was eight. Her family settled in Western New York. Educated in Buffalo’s public schools, she has spent her career working with community-based organizations that promote community development. She was executive director of Ujima Company Inc. and has been, since 2018, Executive Director of PUSH Buffalo.
Eric Gansworth (Onondaga, Eel Clan) is a writer and visual artist, born and raised at the Tuscarora Nation. He has written award-winning novels for adults and young adults, a collection of poems and paintings, and a play selected for the Public Theater’s Native Theater Festival. He is Professor of English and Lowery Writer-in-Residence at Canisius College.
Sam Magavern serves as senior policy fellow at Partnership for the Public Good, which he co-directed or directed since its founding in 2007 through 2018. He teaches at the SUNY Buffalo Law School and the Cornell University ILR School. A writer, his publications range from scholarly articles to comic books, including a non-fiction book, a novel, a movie, and a book of poetry.
John Freeman is the editor of Freeman’s, a literary annual of new writing. His books include How to Read a Novelist and The Tyranny of E-mail, as well as Tales of Two Americas, an anthology about inequality in the United States today, and Maps, a collection of poems. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The New York Times. The former editor of Granta, he is Artist-in-Residence at New York University.