Free Writer Events in Philadelphia – March 2018

#CCP #writing #Philadelphia   #VietDinh
Writer friends! CCP peeps! Community College of Philadelphia has several cool workshops and readings open to the public this week, and I especially recommend
Viet Đinh‘s event on his Penn/Faulkner Award-finalist novel, After Disasters. (Full sched. with times and locations at
Dinh teaches at the University of Delaware. AFTER DISASTERS is an aMAZingly well researched novel about international and domestic relief workers struggling to provide aid after a disastrous 2001 earthquake in the Indian city of Bhuj. Dinh weaves together the stories of several intriguing characters–Dev, a married Indian doctor who works with HIV patients; Piotr, a disaster relief logistics expert facing burnout; Andy, a UK fire rescue worker on his first international assignment; and much more! It’s rare to find a novel with such rich characterization and an exacting eye for the logistics of the global world. My students and I are learning a great about how international relief works as well as the competing philosophies behind providing aid. We’re learning too the painful ironies and human failings that sometimes arise amid best intentions.
Dinh will also discuss his story “Substitutes” in a later session. This story won an O’Henry Prize and centers on Vietnamese schoolchildren left in the lurch during the fall of Saigon. Its use of first-person plural is a masterful example of a rarely used point of view.
All this, and he’s a snappy dresser to boot. Come if you can!
You can read the review of After Disasters at the LA Review of Books here.

Michael H. Broder’s HIV Here & Now Poetry Project

New York Poet Michael H. Broder is curating a daily poetry project called HIV Here + Now, which is a countdown memorializing what’s been lost, what’s been gained, and what’s changed as we approach the 35th year of a word with HIV and AIDS. For some of us, it means the memory of friends lost and protests in the streets. For others, it means, as Michael eloquently describes, “being on lifesaving meds, getting your life back, wondering what your life meant, what your past meant, your present, how to process having lived through that and living in this life now, where the crisis is ‘over’ in most of the public mind, but you still take your meds every day… .”  Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials have all experienced the HIV struggle in different ways, and this project is an account of that: the fear and anxiety of the disease’s most harrowing days; the hopefulness of sustainable treatment; the question marks of what’s to come. Michael published this poem of mine for the project today, but I urge you to check out the work of the other poets at the website and to read his “About” page to learn more.

Read “Monkey Orchid”