First, Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus, will be appearing at the downtown library tonight as part of their excellent Salon@615 series. Tickets will be distributed starting at 5:45 p.m., with the reception at 6:15 p.m., author talk at 6:45 p.m. and book signing beginning at 7:30 p.m. Morgenstern was last here for the Southern Festival of Books in October, when Chapter16.org's Sarah Norris penned this description of the titular circus, in her review of the book:
Open from midnight to dawn, the traveling show includes an ice garden that bursts into bloom, an elaborate maze of clouds, acrobatic kittens, poems racing down the sides of trees, a ship of books on a sea of ink, mythical animals running around a carousel, and a mysterious contortionist who folds herself into a tiny glass box before disappearing in a puff of smoke. Celia performs nightly as the grand-scale illusionist, transporting the circus to each new venue without warning. Marco works behind the scenes, binding performers to the show (ensuring that they'll never leave or grow older), and controlling a white bonfire that works as the circus's engine.
As it turns out, Celia and Marco, unbeknownst to them, are being groomed for a death match with each other.
Second, the self-described "poet, critic, midrashist" Alicia Ostriker reads at Vanderbilt. She's been a National Book Award finalist more than once, won the William Carlos Williams award from the Poetry Society of America and taken issue with Auden — so consider her dues paid in full. I think the first Ostriker poem I ever read was "Nude Descending," which populates the Duchamp painting referenced in the title with a woman and a creepy suitor. You can hear Ostriker read it over at the Poetry Foundation website, then head to Buttrick Hall 101 at 7 p.m. tonight.