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Visiting poet writes of vampires, aliens, Lee Harvey Oswald

Thursday, September 18, 2014

LAWRENCE — Tony Trigilio’s poems tell stories about alien abductions, vampiric soap operas and Kennedy-assassination conspiracy theories.

Trigilio, a professor of creative writing at Columbia College Chicago, will read from his work at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, in the English Room of the Kansas Union. The reading is free and open to the public. There will be a question-and-answer period afterward, and then Trigilio will be on hand to sign copies of his books.

For his latest project, the poet is watching all 1,225 episodes of the 1960s horror soap opera “Dark Shadows.” As a child, Trigilio says, “I slept with my shoulders hunched to ward off vampires” as a result of watching the show daily with his mother. He calls the project “a gigantic experiment in poetry and autobiography” as well as “an act of radical endurance.” The first installment of his project, “The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood), Book 1,” was recently released.

His previous book, “White Noise,” collages words from Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel of the same name with Internet chatter from the 2000s. His work in progress deals with the alleged UFO abduction of Betty and Barney Hill in 1961.

“I think [Trigilio] is one of the most versatile writers in the U.S. today,” said Joseph Harrington, professor of post-1900 American poetry in the Department of English. “He’s stretching not only poetry, but narrative as well. His books have various forms, voices and topics. You never know what he’ll do next.”

Trigilio is also the author of “Historic Diary,” and the critical work “Allen Ginsberg’s Buddhist Poetics.” He is editor of the journal Court Green, producer of the podcast “Radio Free Albion” and is drummer for the Chicago-based band Pet Theories.

The event is part of the English department MFA program’s Visiting Writers Series.

For more information, contact Joe Harrington, 785/424-3556 or jharrington@ku.edu.