Odd Narrators and a Factless Autobiography – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Odd Narrators and a Factless Autobiography

Crenner and Weiss read from newly published books. On Thursday, there was a rare poetic occurrence. At 7:30 p.m. in the Sanford Room, poets, long-time friends and Professors of English Jim Crenner and David Weiss gave readings from their latest books. Crenner’s collection, “Drinks at the Stand-Up Tragedy Club,” is an assortment of poems, drafts, and notebook entries spanning about a 10-year period recently published by the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Press and in conjunction with Wolf at the Door Press. “Very few of them were originally conceived with others of them in mind, so it isn’t easy to characterize the book as a whole,” said Crenner of his work. And with 11 dramatic monologues scattered throughout, spoken by such odd narrators as Melpomene, the muse of tragedy, and the hare in Zeno’s paradox, Crenner believes the poems represent a great variety of styles. Weiss joined Crenner, reading from his own new book, “GNOMON,” which he described as “a book-length poem,” informally subtitling it “an autobiography without facts.” The book is arranged in chapters that to express “the patterns and oscillations of a life of mind and feeling and relation in a non-narrative way,” said Weiss. “GNOMON,” which takes its name from the raised part of a sundial, will be released in May by Wolf at the Door Press. The reading commemorated Crenner’s retirement. After 40 years of teaching a broad array of courses with the Colleges, he will be retiring this spring and is looking forward to a continuation of his reading and writing. Thinking toward his retirement, Crenner said that, “There can be no replacement for the privilege of constantly encountering bright, clever, thoughtful, and engaged people—scholars, writers, critics, teachers—and enjoying the interesting, provocative, and, as often as not, amusing exchanges they so effortlessly engender.”