"The Art of Survival: Trauma, Recovery, and Witness"
An evening with Heather Derr-Smith and PEA faculty member Tom Simpson
At times tender, at times scathing, Tongue Screw explores themes of female sexuality and agency, of personal connection, of love, and of desire sometimes gone wrong and violent.
Heather Derr-Smith was born in Dallas, Texas in 1971. She spent most of her childhood in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She earned her B.A. in Art History at the University of Virginia, where she also took poetry workshops with Charles Wright, Rita Dove, and Greg Orr. She went on to earn her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has published three books of poems, Each End of the World (Main Street Rag Press, 2005), The Bride Minaret (University of Akron Press, 2008), and Tongue Screw (Sparkwheel Press, 2016).
Born and raised in western New York, Tom Simpson teaches religion, philosophy, and human rights at Phillips Exeter Academy. He holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Virginia. From 2002-2004, he directed Emory University’s “Journeys of Reconciliation,” an international travel program exploring the intersections of religion, violence, and peacebuilding. Two of his essays about postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina, "All We Have Left" and "Recovery's Rhythm and Blues," have been featured recently in the Canadian literary magazine Numéro Cinq. This fall, the University of North Carolina Press will publish his first academic book, American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism, 1867-1940.