Free Literary Events at Eugene Public Library, November 2013

All events are free and open to the public.

More information: 541-682-5450 or

From Immigrants, to U.S. Citizenship, to the American Dream
Saturday, November 2, 3:00 p.m., Downtown Eugene Public Library, 10th & Olive
Author Robert Liebenau will give a talk about his family memoir, From Immigrants, to U.S. Citizenship, to the American Dream. In the Liebenau family, the dream of America was a powerful symbol of hope. Liebenau was born in a Displaced Persons’ Camp in West Germany, after his mother was liberated from Auschwitz and his father was liberated from a Hungarian/Russian forced labor camp.

The book shares the family’s struggles and triumphs from their arrival at Ellis Island to their determination to succeed in their new country while still honoring their old-world values, including their rituals and traditions as Orthodox Jews. They learned an unfamiliar language and a new way of life, embraced what the U.S. offered, and eventually came to feel at home in America. Says the author, “this is the triumphant story of a family who was saved by the outstretched hand of Lady Liberty, and who became productive, responsible citizens in return.”

Billy Collins
Tuesday, November 5, 6:00 p.m., Downtown Eugene Public Library, 10th & Olive
The United States Poet Laureate for 2001-2003, Billy Collins inspires both critical acclaim and extraordinary popularity. Collins considers humor “a door into the serious,” leading to poems that are funny, tender, quirky, moving, and profound observations of everyday life.

Often heard on National Public Radio, Collins has been widely honored, including as the inaugural recipient of Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry and winner of the 2013 Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. His latest book is Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems 2003-2013.

Collins’ level of fame is almost unprecedented in the world of contemporary poetry; his readings regularly sell out. He has been dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, and praised by John Updike for writing “lovely poems… gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem.” While Collins approaches his own work with a healthy sense of self-deprecation, calling his poems “domestic” and “middle class,” critic John Taylor says of his poems that “rarely has anyone written poems that appear so transparent on the surface yet become so ambiguous, thought-provoking, or simply wise once the reader has peered into the depths.”

Collins served two terms as the U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2003), was New York State Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. With books for sale and signing courtesy of Barnes & Noble.

Andrea Hairston: Redwood and Wildfire
Friday, November 8, 2:00 p.m., Downtown Eugene Public Library, 10th & Olive
Join acclaimed theatre artist Andrea Hairston for a performance of sections from her new novel, Redwood and Wildfire, with Pan Morigan singing songs written based on lyrics from the book.

Redwood and Wildfire is a historical fantasy novel set in the early 1900s. Two dreamers and performers, an African-American hoodoo queen and an Irish-Seminole man, leave their backwoods Georgia home for big city Chicago. Living in a system stacked against them, their story is an exhilarating, painful, magical adventure.

At that time, minstrel shows transformed into vaudeville, and then into moving pictures, bringing together diverse, amazed audiences. This experience of ”dreaming in public” became common culture and part of what transformed immigrants and “native” people into Americans.

Andrea Hairston is the Louise Wolff Kahn Professor of Theatre and Afro-American Studies at Smith College and the author of Redwood and Wildfire, winner of the 2011 Tiptree Award and Mindscape, shortlisted for the Phillip K. Dick and Tiptree Awards, and winner of the Carl Brandon Parallax Award. A performer, award-winning playwright, and the artistic director of Chrysalis Theatre, Hairston has written plays produced nationwide, including at the Yale Repertory Theatre and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Pan Morigan is a vocalist and songwriter who has toured with Bobby McFerrin’s choral Voicestra. She produced “Castles of Gold: Songs and Stories of Irish Immigration” for Public Radio International with performers including Roma Downey and Frank McCourt. Her latest album is Wild Blue.

Family Fun: Flying Stories
Sunday, November 10, 2:30 p.m., Downtown Eugene Public Library, 10th & Olive
Kids and family: join storyteller Kelly Terwilliger for entertaining tales about flying birds, squirrels, people, carpets, bathtubs, carpets, and more.

Free Digital Magazines
Tuesday, November 12, 6:00 p.m., Bethel Branch of Eugene Public Library, 1990 Echo Hollow Rd.
Tuesday, November 19, 6:00 p.m., Sheldon Branch of Eugene Public Library, 1566 Coburg Rd.
Eugene Public Library’s Zinio service offers free, cover-to-cover, current issues of popular magazines for tablets, eReaders, computers, and phones. In this 2-hour class, learn how to access these magazines to read and download them to keep. Best-selling magazines are available on every topic: food, home, garden, news, money, sports, outdoors, fitness, music, art, celebrities, fashion, and more. Basic computer and Internet skills required.

“Muscle & Mayhem”: Author Lauren Chouinard
Thursday, November 14, 6:00 p.m., Downtown Eugene Public Library, 10th & Olive
George Henry Lavigne, known as “The Saginaw Kid,” was the Lightweight World Boxing Champion from 1896 to 1899. Join author Lauren Chouinard to learn about this colorful figure and the early days of boxing when the Queensberry Rules—featuring gloved fists and timed rounds—began to transform boxing from its rough-and-tumble roots into a legitimate sport.

Muscle and Mayhem: The Saginaw Kid and the Fistic World of the 1890s tells the life story of the sometimes-troubled Kid, including his dozen arrests, bouts with alcohol, trips to the insane asylum, and his sudden death at age 58 of a heart attack. Nevertheless, Kid had an impressive record as a professional fighter: 34 wins (21 by knockout), 10 no decisions, six losses (four by KO) one no contest, 11 draws, and 21 exhibitions. Lavigne was inducted into the Ring Hall of Fame in 1959, the Michigan Boxing Hall of Fame in 1965, the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Known for his toughness and indomitable will as a fighter, Kid fought some extraordinary matches against the best pugilists of the time.

In addition to his overall love of sport, author Lauren Chouinard became interested in this subject due to family stories about Kid Lavigne, his mother’s “second cousin a few times removed.” Previously, Chouinard opened Pacific Nautilus, a health and fitness club; wrote Get Off Your But, a guide to getting in shape by overcoming excuses; and served as the director of Human Resources at the City of Eugene.

Holiday Gifts Book Sale
Saturday, November 16, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Downtown Eugene Public Library, 10th & Olive
Find amazing deals on books in gift-giving condition, including bestsellers, classics, holiday-themed titles, coffee table books, and children’s books. Plus great reading for yourself, including thousands of mysteries, popular fiction, and more. This sale of very-gently-used books is a fundraiser by the volunteer Friends of Eugene Public Library. All proceeds will go to support Eugene Public Library programs. Admission and parking are free.

Windfall Reading: Thomas Aslin and Tim Whitsel
Tuesday, November 19, 5:30 p.m., Downtown Eugene Public Library, 10th & Olive
The Windfall Reading Series this month features writers Thomas Aslin and Tim Whitsel.

Thomas Aslin’s A Moon Over Wings was a finalist for the 2009 Washington State Book Award in poetry. His work has appeared in many magazines and journals, as well as another collection of his own, Sweet Smoke. Aslin taught high school and college for years, then recently retired from driving municipal buses in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington.

Tim Whitsel’s poem “Mudflat Allure” won first place at the 2013 Northwest Poets’ Concord. His passions for gardening, jazz, western rivers, soccer, bicycling, and wine often inspire his poems. Whitsel directed the Windfall Reading Series for 6 years. His collection of poems is titled We Say Ourselves.

The Windfall Reading Series is sponsored by Eugene Public Library, Lane Literary Guild, Friends of Eugene Public Library, Eugene Public Library Foundation, and Cultural Services Division of Lane Arts Council. Refreshments served at intermission.

Tween Scene Book Group
Thursday, November 21, 4:00 p.m., Downtown Eugene Public Library, 10th & Olive
This month’s book The Game of Sunken Places, by M.T. Anderson. In this novel, when 2 boys visit an eccentric relative at his mansion, they discover an old-fashioned board game that draws them into a mysterious adventure. For grades 4 through 6. Pre-register and pick up the book at the Children’s Center starting November 1.

Teen Book Group
Thursday, November 21, 4:00 p.m., Downtown Eugene Public Library, 10th & Olive
This month’s book is Ask the Passengers by A.S. King. This novel tells the story of Astrid Jones, a teen trying to be herself in a small, conformist town. With no one to confide in, she sends her secrets and love to the people in planes flying overhead – with surprising results. For middle and high school ages. Visit the Downtown Teen Desk to pre-register and pick up your copy of the book starting November 1.