Rochelle Hurt and Kate Sweeney discuss their books The Rusted City (poetry) and American Afterlife (cultural studies)

Tue 3/18 7pm – 8pm
Rochelle Hurt and Kate Sweeney discuss their books The Rusted City (poetry) and American Afterlife (cultural studies)

About Rochelle Hurt: Rochelle was forged from iron ore in the steel mills of Youngstown, Ohio. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she completed her BA, and of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she completed her MFA. During the summer of 2011, she was a writer-in-residence at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming. She now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she is pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati. Her work has been included in Best New Poets 2013 and listed as notable in Best American Essays 2013. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have been published in journals like Mid-American Review, Cincinnati Review, The Southeast Review, The Kenyon Review Online, and Image. She has been awarded several literary prizes, including the 2013 Richard Peterson Poetry Prize from Crab Orchard Review, a 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, the 2011 Rumi Poetry Prize from Arts & Letters, the 2011 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize from Hunger Mountain, and SDSU’s 2010 Poetry International Prize.

About The Rusted City: Selected as the eighteenth volume in the Marie Alexander Poetry Series at White Pine Press, The Rusted City reads like a novel in prose poems. Told through the experiences of ‘the smallest sister,’ it is a coming-of-age fable set in the haunting dreamscape of the Rust Belt, where industrial corrosion becomes a funhouse mirror of personal loss. At once speculative and documentary, it is a story about the nature of decay in the aftermath of abuse.

“In Hurt’s sparkling debut, the tinny, melancholic, gorgeous stir of Baudelaire’s heartbroken metropolis is heard again, but this time its flesh and spirit are rusted.  Its lung is rusted, its heart and belly are rusted.  Its mother, father, and sister are all rusted.  In this city, though, rust is no death rattle but the life rustle.  In this city, the prose poem scrapes the sky until rusted clouds burst, sending rusted beauty clattering down.  Hurt brings the prose poem back to life.”
—Sabrina Orah Mar

About Kate Sweeney: Kate Sweeney lives in Atlanta where she writes and creates public radio stories. While pursuing her MFA at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, she spent time with obit writers, funeral directors and ordinary Americans who found themselves involved with death and memorialization. The resulting popular nonfiction book, American Afterlife, will be published by University of Georgia Press in March 2014. Kate’s radio stories appear regularly on Atlanta’s NPR station, WABE 90.1 FM, and she has won three Edward R. Murrow awards as well as a number of Associated Press awards for her work. Her writing has appeared twice in Oxford American as well as Atlanta Magazine and New South, among other outlets. While pursuing her MFA at UNCW, she won the 2007-2008 Robert H. Byington Leadership Scholarship in Creative Writing, the 2008-2009 Lavonne Adams Award and the 2008-2009 Outstanding Thesis Award for Nonfiction.

About American Afterlife: Someone dies. What happens next depends both upon our personal stories and where those stories fall in a larger tale—that of death in America. It’s a powerful tale. And yet it’s usually hidden from our everyday lives until it happens to us. American Afterlife explores the experiences of individual Americans involved with death in a culture where even discussing such things is practically taboo. These chapters follow ordinary people making memorial choices as well as the purveyors of those choices to investigate how we memorialize our dead, where these practices came from, and what this says about us. The details in these personal stories build upon one another to reveal a landscape that’s usually hidden in our ordinary lives—until the day it’s not. At once strange and familiar, and by turns odd, poignant, and funny, American Afterlife brings fresh insight to the oldest of concerns.


Event date: 
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Next to Foster's Market & Kitchen
27514 Chapel Hill
The Rusted City (Marie Alexander Poetry (White Pine) #18) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781935210528
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: White Pine Press (NY) - February 11th, 2014

American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning Cover Image
ISBN: 9780820346007
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Georgia Press - March 15th, 2014