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ASU book group to discuss English professor's 'Ephemeron: Poems'

August 02, 2012

The ASU Book Group, which is open to all ASU faculty, staff and students, will begin its program for 2012-2013 on Aug. 29, with T.R. Hummer’s latest book, "Epheremon: Poems."

The Book Group meets the last Wednesday of each month from noon to 1 p.m., in Piper Writers House on the Tempe campus. (Aug. 29 meeting will be in the Memorial Union Copper Room, 206, due to construction in Piper Writers House.) Authors are generally present to discuss their books.

In a work of startling originality, Hummer's “Ephemeron” presents a meditation on ephemerality from the point of view of the ephemeron itself as it passes, be it the individual, the atom, the particle. Relentless in its stalking of the boundary between being and nonbeing, Hummer's work becomes a tour-de-force that shines a spotlight into dark corners of Being, revealing yet more darkness.

Hummer won the ASU Faculty Achievement Award for Best Performance or Artwork for the book, as well as the Mississippi Arts and Letters Award for Poetry.

Hummer grew up in the Deep South, and spent many of his high school years playing saxophone in various rock and roll bands before he met poetry. This musical influence is visible in his work: he often discusses poetry together with music, or music with poetry, and his career has included both writing and performance.

On Sept. 25 (a departure from the usual date), mystery writer and former journalist Betty Webb will discuss her book “Desert Wind.”

In “Desert Wind,” an old wrangler holds the key to hundreds of deaths in secretive Walapai Flats, Arizona, but the only person he’ll confide in is the ghost of John Wayne. Also in the mix: a uranium mine close to the Grand Canyon, a tie to a 1954 movie and secrets kept by the desert.

In November, the Book Group will read “The Cat’s Table” by Michael Ondaatje, date TBA, as part of ASUReads Ondaatje. The author will be on campus that month. Ondaatje is the author of “The English Patient.”

The remaining Book Group dates for the year are Oct. 31, Jan. 30, Feb. 27, March 27, April 24 and May 29. For more information, contact Judith Smith, (480) 965-4821, or

The ASU Book Group is sponsored by the Department of English and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.