Please join us for a reading in French and English with poet Alexander Dickow, who will read from his new book, Appetites. A signing will follow. This event is cosponsored by Alliance Française Charlottesville and will be free and open to the public.
In François Rabelais’s Quart Livre, the giant Pantagruel descends to an island ruled by Master Gaster: the gut, gaster. Pantagruel remarks that our appetites include not only our instincts, but also our virtues. Appetites follows that arc from devour to divine, from impulse to aspiration.
Between high and low lurks everything else: maps of the imaginary, antiquated wallpaper, galaxies, piles of dry leaves. As if speaking of food, or love, or God, were not already a way to speak of everything else; such subjects have something of the smokescreen.
Appetites reclaims language as errancy beyond usage and convention. Desire demands a disobedient language, broken open, prone to misfiring. Our passions are violent, but also misleading: at once slippery and self-evident. Like language, desire thrives in the confusion of plenitude and privation. Polarities like these—loud and soft, absent and present, too much and too little—lend order to Appetites.
Appetites is published in English, though the author has translated many of the poems into French as well.
"Delightfully playful, Alexander Dickow's newest collection of poetry—Appetites—is a feast for all.... This is 'tall verbiage,' as he writes in 'Beverage,' which readers are certain to drink in with relish. À table!"
—Jennifer K. Dick
Alexander Dickow was born in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1979, and grew up in Moscow, Idaho. He now teaches French culture, language, and literature as an associate professor at Virginia Tech. As a poet, Dickow has published works in French and English: Appetites (MadHat Press, 2018), Caramboles (Argol Editions, 2008), Trial Balloons (Corrupt Press, 2012), and Rhapsodie curieuse (Louise Bottu, 2017). As a scholar, Dickow focuses especially on literature of the Belle Epoque and World War I on the one hand, and on contemporary literature on the other; he has published many articles in French and English, along with two scholarly works: Le Poète innombrable: Blaise Cendrars, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob (Hermann, 2015) and Jacob et le cinéma (Nouvelles Editions Jean-Michel Place, 2017). Translations from French include works by Gustave Roud (Air of Solitude followed by Requiem, Seagull Books, forthcoming), Henri Droguet (Clatters, Rain Taxi/Ohm Press, 2015), and Sylvie Kandé (PEN/Heim Translation fund grant project, 2018). Dickow maintains a professional website at alexdickow.net.