Section: Arts

Retiring professors honor time on the Hill with a joint reading

Twenty-eight years after first stepping foot on campus, Assistant Professor of English Patricia Vigderman and Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing Lewis Hyde will give one final reading to celebrate teaching and living at Kenyon.

“Our time here has been important for me,” Vigderman said of her and her husband’s years in Gambier. “A lot of my writing career happened while we were here.”

The Kenyon Review will host Hyde and Vigderman on Tuesday, Sept. 26. The couple will retire at the end of this academic year after 28 years at Kenyon.

Along with his most renowned work, The Gift (1983), Hyde is the author of Common as Air (2010), Trickster Makes This World (1998) and the poetry collection This Error is the Sign of Love (1988). Additionally, Hyde has edited essays of Henry David Thoreau and a book of responses to the poetry of Allen Ginsberg. Hyde’s awards include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1991, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Hyde’s most recently published work, Common as Air, navigates “the question of whether the fruits of creative labor can or should be privately owned” (Booklist). Hyde anticipates reading from either Common as Air or Trickster Makes This World, as he published these two works while at Kenyon. He also may read selections of his poetry.

Hyde takes pleasure in the opportunity to read his work aloud. “When I write, I often read aloud just to hear the cadence of my sentences and make sure the writing is smooth,” Hyde said.

Vigderman is author of The Memory Palace of Isabella Stewart Gardner (2007), Possibility: Essays Against Despair (2013) and The Real Life of the Parthenon forthcoming from Mad Creek Books this January. Vigderman’s work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Boston Review, Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, The Nation and The New York Times, among other publications.

Vigderman plans to read from Possibility: Essays Against Despair, in which “there are several essays that … reflect my time at Kenyon.” She plans to read an essay titled “What It’s Like in Ohio” and may also read from her forthcoming book.

“It’s always a pleasure to have an audience,” Vigderman said. “My first book is about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and when I first started doing readings for that, I was really nervous. But the audience at Kenyon is friendly and receptive, and it [is] like reading at home.”

Hyde and Vigderman will read their work at 4:10 p.m. on Sept. 26 in Finn House’s Cheever Room.

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