Emily Ogden On Not Knowing

Friday, October 28 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Join us for an evening with author Emily Ogden, in conversation with poet Brian Teare.

Join us for an evening with author Emily Ogden, who will read from her recent book, On Not Knowing: How to Love and Other Essays. A conversation with poet Brian Teare will follow. This in-person event will be free and open to the public. We recommend arriving early for the best seating.

About the Book: Moments of clarity are rare and fleeting; how can we become comfortable outside of them, in the more general condition of uncertainty within which we make our lives? Written by English professor Emily Ogden while her children were small, On Not Knowing forays into this rich, ambivalent space. Each of her sharply observed essays invites the reader to think with her about questions she can’t set aside: not knowing how to give birth, to listen, to hold it together, to love.

Unapologetically capacious in her range of reference and idiosyncratic in the canon she draws on, Ogden moves nimbly among the registers of experience, from the operation of a breast pump to the art of herding cattle; from one-night stands to the stories of Edgar Allan Poe; from kayaking near a whale to a psychoanalytic meditation on drowning. Committed to the accumulation of knowledge, Ogden nonetheless finds that knowingness for her can be a way of getting stuck, a way of not really living. Rather than the defensiveness of willful ignorance, On Not Knowing celebrates the defenselessness of not knowing yet—possibly of not knowing ever. Ultimately, this book shows how resisting the temptation of knowingness and embracing the position of not knowing becomes a form of love.

About the Author: Emily Ogden is associate professor of English at the University of Virginia and the author of On Not Knowing: How to Love and Other Essays and Credulity: A Cultural History of US Mesmerism. You can find her on Twitter at @ENOgden. She lives in Charlottesville, VA.

About the Moderator: Brian Teare is the author of six critically acclaimed books, most recently Companion Grasses, The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven, and Doomstead Days, winner of the Four Quartets Prize. His honors include the Brittingham Prize and Lambda Literary and Publishing Triangle Awards, as well as Guggenheim, NEA, Pew Foundation, and MacDowell Colony fellowships. After over a decade of teaching and writing in the San Francisco Bay Area, and eight years in Philadelphia, he’s now an associate professor at the University of Virginia and lives in Charlottesville, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books.

To order On Not Knowing, please see below for the New Dominion Bookshop book order form or call the shop at 434-295-2552.

"On Not Knowing is many things: a brilliant close reading of motherhood; a tonic counter to ‘self-help’ books; an intimate, unsentimental tribute to children; and an extended riff on how we make meaning with language. What is most extraordinary is how Ogden takes a surface moment of the everyday and deftly turns and deepens it until she arrives at a space of luminous complexity."

—Dana Spiotta, author of Wayward

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