Delve Engages Readers
Delve Readers Seminars engages readers in exploring challenging books in lively discussion-based seminars led by an experienced scholar.
Each seminar is limited to 16 participants who will complete designated reading in advance and come prepared to discuss the text in an informal, friendly atmosphere. No previous knowledge of the author or text is required. Delve is a perfect combination of a book group and a college English class, but we promise not to assign any essays.
Our traditional Delve seminars meet once a week for 6 weeks. Read below for brief seminar descriptions. Remember to enroll early; each seminar is limited to 16 participants. Seminars typically run from 6:30–8:30 p.m., are held at the Literary Arts event space (925 SW Washington St, Portland) and tuition is $185 unless otherwise noted.
The Mexican Revolution: Rulfo, Azuela & Fuentes
UPDATE: THE DATES FOR THIS SEMINAR HAVE BEEN CHANGED
Thursdays, January 9 – February 20, 2014 6:30 – 8:30pm (NO meeting on February 6)
Tuition: $185, Location: Portland Center Stage at The Armory
There are many historical accounts of the Mexican Revolution. In this seminar we will read works of fiction by three celebrated Mexican writers—Juan Rulfo, Mariano Azuela and Carlos Fuentes—who address issues of identity related to this era in very different ways, using narrative techniques that go from magical realism to postmodern multiple perspective.
Guide: Graphic designer, photographer, and writer, Ivonne Saed has extensively explored the crossroads between the visual and the textual within the Humanities, both in her own professional creation as well as in teaching. She published the novel Triple crónica de un nombre (Triple Chronicle of a Name)—Juan Rulfo National Award for First Novel in Mexico, and the non-fiction book Sobre Paul Auster: Autoría, distopía y textualidad (On Paul Auster: Authorship, Dystopia and Textuality), and has co-authored other fiction and non-fiction books. She currently teaches Latin American Literature at Marylhurst University and has been a guide of several Delve seminars.
The Signature Style of Chris Ware
Tuesdays, January 21 – February 4, 2014 6:30 – 8:30 pm (3 evenings)
Incorporating principals of typography and graphic design, Chris Ware re-invented comics and influenced a generation of cartoonists with books like the Acme Novelty Library and Jimmy Corrigan. Ware’s signature style, drawing on early 20th century cartooning, can be recognized in the pages of McSweeny’s, on the facade of the 826 Valencia building in San Francisco, and in reprinted collections of Gasoline Alley. Having won almost every comics industry award, his work sprawls beyond comics into contemporary book design and fine art, yet remains firmly rooted in graphic storytelling. In this Delve seminar, we will explore his career from The Daily Texan to the Chicago Reader to The New Yorker, and his innovations in comics and
Note: Participants in this seminar will receive a complimentary ticket to Chris Ware’s Portland Arts & Lectures event on February 18, 2014.
Guide: John Isaacson is a writer and artist who teaches comics at the Independent Publishing Resources Center, Marylhurst University. and Portland Community College. His comics and writing have appeared in the Willamette Week, Teachers and Writers magazine, Propeller, and The Santa Barbara Independent. His first graphic novel, Do It Yourself Screenprinting was published by Microcosm in 2007. He continues to self-publish the mini-comics, Feedback, Pyromania, and Grumpy McBumbles.
Just Announced! Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment
Wednesdays, February 12 – March 19, 2014 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Though Thomas Mann called Crime and Punishment the greatest crime novel of all time, Dostoyevsky described his own work in more modest terms, as “a psychological account of a crime” in which a poor student comes under the sway of “certain strange half-baked ideas.” Continuing where he left off with Notes from the Underground, Dostoyevsky took readers where they never thought they wanted to go, this time right up close to a personality suffering dissolution, and deep into the perspective of a murderer. Since its publication in 1866, the novel has been regarded as either an attack on the progressive ideology of Dostoyevsky’s times or a record of its social evils—and as either a realistic psychological study of one individual or a symbolic representation of the conflict between ideas in all people. Our goal for this Delve will be to figure out how to read Crime and Punishment.
Guide: Lucas Bernhardt holds MAs in English and in Writing from Portland State University, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He teaches writing at Portland State University and is managing editor of Propeller Quarterly, a literature and art magazine.
19th Century Realism: Balzac & Flaubert
Tuesdays, February 18 – March 25, 2014 6:30 – 8:30pm
Money, marriage, class, sex, ambition, Paris, the provinces, all this and more are explored by the French novelists Honoré de Balzac and Gustave Flaubert. We will follow these themes and others in our reading and discussions of Père Goriot and Madame Bovary. We will ask how these two novelists portrayed, what to them, was the new and changing world of the nineteenth century.
Guide: Judith Stone studied French literature at New York University and earned a doctorate from the State University of NY in modern French history. She is the author of two books, The Search for Social Peace and Sons of the Revolution. She is an emerita professor from Western Michigan University and currently teaches as an adjunct at Portland State University.
The Americans: Award-Winning Novels by Louise Erdrich, Julie Otsuka & Jesmyn Ward
Wednesdays, April 2 – May 7, 2014 6:30 – 8:30pm
Join us to explore the many facets of life in the United States, with three award-winning female novelists as guides. We will immigrate to California with Japan’s picture brides in the lyrical collective stories of Julie Otsuka’s A Buddha in the Attic; face down Hurricane Katrina with fifteen-year-old Esch and her family in Jesmyn Ward’s epic and impassioned Salvage the Bones; and immerse ourselves in the traumatic emotional and legal after-affects of a brutal attack on a North Dakotan reservation in Louise Erdrich’s heartbreaking The Roundhouse. Each of these celebrated novels takes us out to the margins of American life, while simultaneously implicating and encircling the reader in a deeper, more complex view of the country we live in and the Americans we share it with.
Guide: Ramiza Koya’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in publications such as Washington Square Review, Lumina, and Catamaran, and she has been a fellow at both MacDowell Colony and Blue Mountain Center. She has both a BA and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and has taught in Spain, the Czech Republic, and Morocco. In addition to teaching writing, she also works as a freelance writer and editor.
William Shakespeare: Othello
Thursday, April 3 – April 17, 2014 6:30 – 8:30pm (3 evenings)
Tuition: $90, Location: Portland Center Stage at The Armory
Shakespeare’s Othello continues to intrigue over 400 years after it was written. We will spend two sessions reading and exploring the intertwined lives of Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Emilia, and Iago, and tracing the currents of love, jealousy, evil, racism, and betrayal. After attending Portland Center Stage’s production, we will share impressions and interpretations in our final meeting.
Note: Participants in this seminar will receive a complimentary ticket to Portland Center Stage’s evening performance of Othello on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
Guide: Gemma Whelan is the founding Artistic Director of corrib theatre, a company devoted to bringing Irish theatre to Portland. She was the founding Artistic Director of Wilde Irish Productions in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she directed and taught for many years. Gemma has also taught theatre and film in Singapore, and lead theatre tours to Ireland and England. She has a BA from Trinity College Dublin and graduate degrees from UC Berkeley (Theatre) and San Francisco State University (Cinema).
The Following Seminars are SOLD OUT
Whodunit: Detective Fiction in the “Golden Age”
Mondays, January 6 – February 10, 2014 6:30 – 8:30pm
From its roots in Edgar Allan Poe to an Agatha Christie classic, detective fiction gets the Delve treatment. We will focus on the genre’s founders (Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Conan Doyle) before touching down in the “Golden Age” (Agatha Christie).
Guide: Christopher Lord is author of The Christmas Carol Murders (2012) and The Edwin Drood Murders (September, 2013). He is a previous Delve guide (A Tale of Two Cities, Our Mutual Friend), and a past recipient of an Oregon Literary Fellowship from Literary Arts. Look for the third Dickens Junction mystery, The Our Mutual Friend Murders, in fall 2014.
Learning How to Live: Exploring the Imperatives in William Stafford’s Work
Wednesdays, January 22 – February 5, 2014 6:30 – 8:30 pm (3 evenings)
Deeply inspired by philosophers, William Stafford often used poetry to teach us how to live: “Your job is to find what the world is trying to be.” In celebration of the Stafford Centennial, this seminar will explore the imperatives in Stafford’s work, the rich legacy he has bequeathed to help us on our journey. Together we will remember and discover: “we must find something forgotten by everyone alive.”
Note: Participants in this seminar will receive a complimentary ticket to the William Stafford Centennial Celebration on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 7:30pm in the Newmark Theatre.
Guide: Poet-dramatist Cindy Williams Gutiérrez has taught creative writing to adults through the Attic and the Oregon Poetry Association, as well as to youth through the Right Brain Initiative and Writers in the Schools. Her collection the small claim of bones is forthcoming from Bilingual Press (Arizona State University). Cindy is currently creating an original theatrical work for the William Stafford Centennial in the fall of 2014.
George Eliot: Middlemarch
Mondays, February 17 – March 24, 2014 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Praised by novelist Virginia Woolf as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” Middlemarch has reigned for more than a century as one of the most powerful and affecting novels in the English language. A serious study of self-delusion and gender-dynamics, George Eliot’s last novel is also a wonderful window into the human soul. This is a book within which to become lost and also found.
Guide: Sara Guest is a literature editor/producer and poet whose previous jobs have included editor for Encyclopaedia Britannica, producer for Harpo Studios (Oprah’s Book Club) and program coordinator for Write Around Portland. She is currently a visiting writer at Pacific Northwest College of Art and an author coordinator for Wordstock. Sara has an MA in English from Case Western Reserve University with a focus in the late-Victorian and early-Modern periods.
James Joyce: Ulysses
Tuesdays, April 1 – May 6, 2014 7:00 – 9:00 pm
In Ulysses, James Joyce endeavored to write a book about one day in the lives of a few Dubliners that would represent the noisy minutiae of contemporary urban existence while conveying the dignity and importance of classical literature. Published amid controversy in Paris in 1922, Ulysses recorded Joyce’s growing audacity as an artist and has since come to epitomize literary modernism. In this seminar, we will approach the book as readers rather than as scholars, hoping to follow the journeys of Joyce’s characters and to grasp the simple and humane insights of Joyce’s vision.
Guide: Christopher Zinn, an independent literature scholar, has led several Delve seminars. He teaches humanities at the Portland Waldorf High School.