BRATTLEBORO — An online literary cocktail hour at 5 p.m. Feb. 12 will take attendees on an armchair trip to Scotland with a discussion of Vermont author Jay Parini’s book “Borges and Me: An Encounter.”
In 1971, Parini was an aspiring poet and graduate student of literature at University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He was also in flight from being drafted into service in the Vietnam War. One day, his friend and mentor, Alastair Reid, asked Jay if he could play host for a “visiting Latin American writer” while he attended to business in London. He agreed, and that “writer” turned out to be Argentine poet, writer and translator Jorge Luis Borges, the aged and eccentric master of literary compression and metaphysics, whose books set the stage for the magical realism movement in the the 20th century.
Borges was blind, talkative, vital — and up for adventure. What ensued was a seriocomic romp across the Scottish landscape and Parini’s eventual reckoning with his vocation and personal fate.
Parini will be in conversation with author and Emerson College professor Rosario de Swanson.
The event is free and open to the public. Register at: bit.ly/LitCocktail7
Jay Parini is a poet, novelist, and biographer who teaches at Middlebury College. His six books of poetry include “New and Collected Poems, 1975-2015.” He has written eight novels, including “The Damascus Road,” “Benjamin’s Crossing,” “The Apprentice Lover,” “The Passages of H.M.” and “The Last Station,” made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer. His biographical subjects include John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, William Faulkner and, most recently, Gore Vidal. His nonfiction works include “Jesus: The Human Face of God,” “Why PoetryMatters,” “Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America” and “Borges and Me.”
Rosario M. de Swanson specializes in 20th-century Latin American Literature, women writers, Afro-Latin American writers, and the literature of Equatorial Guinea. Her research and teaching focuses on literature and culture as a form of resistance. Her work has appeared in Ottawa Hispanic Studies, Hispanic Journal, Hispania, MARGES and others. She teaches Latin American literature and culture, gender studies, and Spanish language at Emerson College.