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Book Notes: Digital Leader Turns to Poetry

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/15/2018 12:04:55 AM
Modified: 6/15/2018 12:05:07 AM

Mary Flanagan, virtual goddess of digital humanities at Dartmouth College whose work specializes in the intersection of game design and social change, is known for establishing the game research laboratory Tiltfactor. Last year, she branched out from academia with her sixth book — and debut poetry collection — Ghost Sentence.

Written largely in response to the 2016 presidential election and the Trump administration, Flanagan’s poems also express a more personal kind of grief. “Everyone knows it’s not safe to / go out on a brimstone night / especially with you,” writes the professor of film and media studies and Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities.

“Leaves still cling to the trees but / the sun is telling them to drop dead.”

The book “weaponizes poetic structures by loading them with history, philosophy, theory, heart, humor and an intimate sense of you,” writes the poet and essayist Christine Hume, in the book’s endorsements.

Flanagan will read from Ghost Sentence at Norwich Bookstore on Wednesday starting at 7 p.m.

Also reading at the bookstore Wednesday night is part-time Hartford resident Sarah Dickenson Snyder, a lifelong poet who had two poetry collections released in the last year. She will read from one of them, Notes from a Nomad, in which she processes the beauty and ugliness she encountered during her global travels.

Admission to the reading is free, but reservations are recommended, as seating is limited. To save a seat, call the bookstore at 802-649-1114.

Saturday at 4 p.m., the Andover, N.H. writer Amy Makechnie will read from her debut novel for middle readers, The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair (Simon & Schuster), at Morgan Hill Bookstore in New London.

The Lyme biologist Ben Kilham, whose work focuses on researching and rehabilitating black bears, will give a talk on the theme of his 2013 book, In the Company of Bears: What Black Bears Have Taught Me About Intelligence and Intuition, at Piermont Village School, next Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.

In her new book, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out, Ruth King — a black Buddhist scholar and teacher who lives in Charlotte, N.C. with her partner, Barbara Riley — argues that racism is “a heart disease and it’s curable.” She will read from the book, and discuss how it relates to the idea of the “Racial Awareness Rubik,” at Norwich Congregational Church on June 25, from from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not necessary.

EmmaJean Holley can be reached at or 603-727-3216.

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