by Camille Pack
Everyone’s buzzing about tonight’s 7pm SLC Library reading sponsored by CITY ART, as Melanie Rae Thon is expected to present new work from Vanishings, her book-length fusion of lyrical essay, poetry, and fiction. Thon’s writing has garnered multiple accolades including inclusion in three Pushcart Prize Anthologies, the O. Henry Prize Stories. and The Best American Short Stories collections.
A University of Utah Professor, Thon is inspired by the juxtaposition of global catastrophe and wonder. Bees are vanishing, but scientists have discovered “a black hole whirling in space, vibrating to B flat, fifty-seven octaves below the range of human hearing. Imagine,” she says, “nine billion years of sound and only stars listening.” Or think, she suggests, about the toil of a hummingbird’s heart: it beats twenty times per second, failing after approximately the same number of beats as our own, yet our lifespans are poles apart.
Expanding on her prior novels The Voice of the River and Sweet Hearts, and recent story collection In This Light, Thon aims to give “voice to people who live in the borderlands,” using science, music, history, and philosophy to draw her readers to an ecocritical approach, one that celebrates what she calls the more-than-human environment and evokes, “grace in the midst of turmoil, loss, and violence.”
To sample her elegant writing, visit “The Heart Breaks, and Breaks Open: Seven Reasons to Tell a Story in 2011,” published by GLIMMER TRAIN, PRESS.
Weber State University Assistant Professor Siân Griffiths is also expected to read tonight (though she could not be reached prior to the writing of this article). Her Pushcart nominee “What is Solid” was published by VERSAL, and we anticipate her debut novel Borrowed Horses in October 2013 from New Rivers Press.
CITY ART presents programs at the downtown Salt Lake City Main Library featuring invited readers. Melanie Rae Thon and Siân Griffiths read tonight, December 5th, at 7 pm.
Next in the series:
7pm Wednesday December 12: Michael Gills & Franklin Fisher
7pm Wednesday January 9: Hector Ahumada
For more information see SLCityArt.org.
Melanie Rae Thon’s In This Light was recently reviewed by Geoff Wichert in our pages. Click here to read.