Grad Research: Julie Kantor publishes chapbook, LAND

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Exciting news: Ph.D. student Julie Kantor has published a new chapbook of poetry, LAND, with Dikembe Press, and will be reading and signing copies of the book at Farewell Books on Friday, May 15 at 7:00pm.

We asked Julie about her process and the themes of the chapbook:

I wrote the first two poems of LAND in a BART from San Francisco’s airport to the Mission. Reviewing the photographs of the bird’s eye view captured on my phone from the flight from New York, the lines that carved mountains served purpose other than to demarcate peaks & their inclines; these were the mappings of my veins, of my (then) partners’, those living at the heels to follow in—the way earth comes toward & falls away in the cragged valleys is the way we become, or unbecome, together in what is lost, in what is yet to come into existence. There is more than we can see or feel.

The “we” of LAND, the story of their travels, seek a way to continue through means that are in excess of the actual, of and beyond it. LAND infolds within it many worlds–no one is dominate over another; the distinguishing qualities that tell us when we don’t belong somewhere we inhabit, atmospheres that tell stories, leaving us uncomfortable aren’t present; there are no caution signs. “We” roam to find a place that can hold, sustain them, but every thing is tenuous. Attempting to understand the world one way doesn’t work out, because living in the world only one way is untenable.

Julie’s poetry has also been published in Boston Review, A Public Space, Maggy, and Foothill. Her work is being translated into Ukrainian for a new modern American poetry anthology, and she is a poetry reader and writes microreviews for Boston Review. LAND, published by Dikembe Press, is her first chapbook.

Announcement: Patrick Jagoda to deliver talk, “On Difficulty in Video Games: Mechanics, Interpretation, Affect”

We’re excited to announce the first in a series of four talks here in the Department of American Studies at UT Austin. Patrick Jagoda, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Chicago, Co-editor of Critical Inquiry and Co-founder of Game Changer Chicago Design Lab, will be giving a talk called, “On Difficulty in Video Games: Mechanics, Interpretation, Affect” at 4:30pm on Monday, February 2, in Burdine 436A. Jagoda has been with us this year at UT as a Harrington Fellow, and we sat down with him a while back for an interview, which you can check out here.

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Here’s a description of the talk from Jagoda:

In a 1978 essay, literary critic George Steiner observes that a sense of difficulty in poetry became a major aspect of aesthetic experience in the late nineteenth century and extended, by the twentieth century, to new forms of visual and aural expression. This talk takes up videogames as a crucial medium for making sense of aesthetic difficulty in our time. As a way of mapping the cultural stakes of videogames to the early twenty-first century, I examine three types of challenge that games generate: mechanical, interpretive, and affective difficulty. All three forms of difficulty demand continued analysis, but I argue especially for the importance of attending to the third category of demanding affects and emotions. New media scholarship is already becoming more adept at accounting for elements such as aesthetics, interactivity, software, platforms, and media history. It has not yet done justice, however, to the complicated ways that digital media, and games in particular, generate and alter affects. This talk posits that the types of experiences that register as difficult within cultural consciousness, as they do in a variety of unique ways in the context of gameplay, can help animate the values of contemporary American media and their effects on the sensorium. A fuller sense of affect in videogames is necessary to better understand the ways that games serve as unique ideological forms — and might also structure, limit, and even enable more complex practices of play in the United States.