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Essayist and poet reads at UHV (video)

By Carolina Astrain
Sept. 27, 2012 at 4:27 a.m.
Updated Sept. 28, 2012 at 4:28 a.m.

Poet and essayist Paisley Rekdal autographs one of her books at the University of Houston-Victoria after giving a reading on Thursday.

The lights turned out and projected Native American images flickered on the screen in 20- second intervals.

Essayist and poet Paisley Rekdal narrated and explained each image as part of her abridged reading of her new book, "Intimate."

Before an audience at the University of Houston-Victoria's Alcorn Auditorium the author explained the book is more of a photo album than prose

Rekdal was the 52nd author to share her writing with UHV students and Crossroads community members as part of the American Book Review's reading series.

In "Intimate," Rekdal draws parallels between her parents' mixed-race marriage and Edward S. Curtis, who photographed Native Americans in the late 1800s.

During the question and answer portion of the reading, the author suggested producing a book of poems instead of a memoir when writing about family.

"That way your family will never know what goes down," the author chuckled. "It's a real danger writing about your family."

The associate professor of English teaches at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Shannon Castille said she and her husband, UHV president Phil Castille, were in Spokane, Wash., when they first heard Rekdal read.

"She was just as enjoyable as she was today," Castille said. "Her writing allows readers to look at the world through different spectrums."

The poet said her Norwegian and Chinese background provides a kaleidoscopic element to her writing.

"Her work really has a unique voice and speaks to issues of identity and culture that a lot of people in this country deal with," said American Book Review managing editor Jeffrey Sartain.

UHV freshman Jackee Murillo went into the reading not knowing what to expect.

"I haven't read any of her books," said the Corpus Christi native.

After her pecha-kucha slideshow presentation, Rekdal read from her books, "Intimate," "Animal Eye," as well as some poems including, "Intimacy," and "Happiness."

At the end of the hour, Murillo said her favorite poem was "Happiness," which the author said is about trying to understand a perpetually depressed friend.

"I have friends like that," Murillo said.

Students from St. Joseph High School also said they found the final poem most relatable.

"It was easy understanding her," senior Kimberly Chavarria said. "And the powerpoint was really engaging."



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