Wednesday, June 21, Union League Club
“Matter in the Margins of the Gwendolyn Brooks Papers”
Where does the beginning end, and the end begin? When does the draft conclude, and the finished work emerge? What does it mean for a poem to be finished? Spending time with someone’s personal archives tests our notions of finality and completion and the relationship between materiality and the self. The literary archives of Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), Illinois Poet Laureate and the first black winner of the Pulitzer Prize, are now part of the Rare Books and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As it turns out, Brooks was an inveterate self-chronicler, recording her daily life, current events, memories and creative ideas on a wealth of Post It notes, hotel stationery, backs of photographs, fly leaves of note books, and in the margins of the letters she received or the books she read. Through these margins, Brooks destabilized the idea of finality; they transform seemingly finished, self-contained documents into ongoing conversations and works in progress. The lecture highlights the ways in which Brooks’ annotations bring attention to the margins as the space that matters.
Anna Chen is the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and has been the curator associated with the Brooks papers since their receipt at the university. This program is a salute to Gwendolyn Brooks as part of the State-wide tribute to Ms. Brooks on what would have been her 100th birthday in June. Gwendolyn Brooks was a member of the Caxton Club and as a part of our tribute we will be giving a Caxton keepsake created in December of 2000 as well as a new keepsake created just for this occasion.
This will be the last meeting of the Caxton Club 2016-2017 calendar year.
June Dinner, Union League Club, 65 West Jackson Blvd. The evening will follow this order: Social Gathering 5-6 PM. Program, 6 PM. Three course dinner immediately following the program. Program only is free and open to the public. Drinks $7-$10, Dinner $60. RESERVATIONS for either program or dinner program combination are REQUIRED. Reservations are to be made no later than NOON on June 19. Call 312 255 3710 or e-mail email@example.com.
Payment for reservations made by phone or e-mail will be collected at the event, cash or check only. Caxton Club members may register in advance and pay with Paypal at this Web address (http://thecaxtonclub.onefireplace.com). No on-line cancellations.