For a decade, Hobart and William Smith has quietly been the hub of a literary genre. Known as the lyric essay, this fascinating form combines the meditation quality of an essay with the intensity of a lyric poem.
To celebrate and explore this form of the essay genre, a symposium on the lyric essay will held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 in Coxe 8. At the event, a special issue of the Seneca Review, Hobart and William Smith’s professional literary magazine, will be released on the lyric essay in honor of Deborah Tall, editor of the magazine from 1982 to 2006.
Tall was an admired and highly respected poet, lyric essayist, memoirist and professor of English who held the John Milton Potter Professorship in the Humanities. Tall taught at the Colleges for more than 20 years.
Honoring Tall and discussing the lyric essay will be four writers and experts on the genre. They include Wayne Koestenbaum, author of Hotel Theory, who will speak at the Fisher Center earlier in the week; Stephen Kuusisto '78, who appeared with Tall at the President's Forum in September 2006; Jenny Boully, whose essay “The Body” was published in the Spring 2001 issue of the Seneca Review and later included in the Best American Poetry anthology; and John D'Agata '95, author of Halls of Fame and editor of The Next American Essay, a recent anthology of lyric essays.
The symposium is sponsored by the Seneca Review, the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men and the Office of the Provost. All are invited.