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ASU faculty on 'Love and Other Marvels' this Valentine's Day

Poet Sally Ball will read from her new collection, "Wreck Me."
February 08, 2013

On Valentine’s Day, some lovers dine in noisy restaurants. Others empty their wallets on chocolates or stuffed bears holding hearts.

The Arizona State University Department of English offers a sugar-free alternative this Feb. 14: a reading on “Love and Other Marvels” by its faculty in the Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) program in creative writing.

The event starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s Pima Auditorium and features short readings by ASU professors Sally Ball, Norman Dubie, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, Cynthia Hogue, T.R. Hummer, Tara Ison, Melissa Pritchard, Alberto Alvaro Ríos, Jeannine Savard, and Peter Turchi.

What can attendees expect besides lots of love?

Turchi, professor of English and director of the creative writing program, said the annual faculty reading "is an opportunity for us to share a bit of our work with ASU creative writing students – and there are nearly 400 of them – as well as with the wider university community and the public. It's a unique event: each individual reading is brief, and the audience gets to hear a wonderful variety of voices. It's also the only time each year that we all hear each other read, and there are always some surprises."

Poet and assistant professor Sally Ball emphasized the community. “I love these readings,” she said, “because so many of us – students and faculty, graduate and undergraduate – come together and it really feels like a community: our gang gathers together out of the sprawl of metro geography and sprawl of over-commitment. Also, many of us are very funny. And at this point in the semester, conviviality and cracking up are a very tempting pair.”

The reading also gives writing students a chance to see their professors in their elements and before public audiences. Sam Martone, editor of ASU’s literary journal Hayden’s Ferry Review and an MFA student, confessed, “I'm just excited about seeing the teachers I work with read their work – I think it's easy to forget, in the classroom setting, that they are all artists immersed in their own writing too, so it'll be great to see them in kind of a different persona.”

What will faculty read?

Ball’s reading will include poems from her forthcoming collection “Wreck Me” (Barrow Street Press, 2013): “because Valentine’s Day is when so often we use that command, *wreck me* – less overtly, most likely,” she said.

Award-winning fiction writer Pritchard will “wear a suitable Valentine-red dress,” she said, “and read a page or two from my new novel, ‘Palmerino,’ set in Florence, Italy, that will come out in Bellevue Literary Press next January. What I enjoy most about these faculty readings is hearing my colleagues read from their work and realizing what splendid writers and wonderful people they are.” 

Finally, why Valentine’s Day?

With a wink, Pritchard said, “St. Valentine was beheaded in Rome in 269 and buried on the Flaminian Way. His skull, crowned with flowers, is on display in the Basilica de Santa Maria in Rome. According to Roman Catholic tradition, he is the Patron Saint of bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, greetings, fainting, love, lovers, young people, travelers, plague and happy marriages. What better reason?”

This Valentine’s Day, cancel your crowded restaurant reservations, put down that box of chocolates, and join ASU’s dynamic creative writing community at “Love and Other Marvels.”

Doors open at 7 p.m. Readings begin at 7:30 p.m. “Love and Other Marvels” is open to the public. For more information, contact

The Department of English is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Written by Corey Campbell

Media contact:
Kristen LaRue,
Department of English, CLAS