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Meet VCU's Authors



James Branch Cabell Library, Multipurpose Room (250)
901 Park Ave., Richmond, Va. 23284


Members of faculty and staff in the humanities at VCU have an impressive record of scholarly productivity and are recognized, both nationally and internationally, for their significant contributions to our understanding of the human condition across cultures, throughout the past, and in the present. The Meet VCU’s Authors series invites members of the Richmond community as well as colleagues and students from VCU and other local universities to come and meet VCU's authors as they talk about their recently published books and answer questions about their work.

This event is free and open to the public. Parking is available for a fee in the West Broad StreetWest Main Street and West Cary Street parking decks. If special accommodations are needed, please call the VCU Libraries Events Office at (804) 828-0593.


Jan. 25, 2017
7 p.m.–9 p.m.
Brian Daugherity
Author of Keep on Keeping on: The NAACP and the Implementation of Brown v. Board of Education in Virginia
Feb. 22, 2017
7 p.m.–9 p.m.
Tressie Cottom
Author of Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-profit Colleges in the New Economy
April 19, 2017
7 p.m.–9 p.m.
Gregory Kimbrell
Author of The Primitive Observatory

About the Upcoming Installment of the Series

Gregory Kimbrell is the author of The Primitive Observatory (Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), winner of the 2014 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Parentheses Journal, Blackbird, The Laurel Review, and the Abaculi Project. He is the events and programs coordinator for Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries.

The poems of The Primitive Observatory, set roughly in the Gilded Age, take readers into a dreamy, alluring world where hapless travelers, doomed heirs, and other colorful types grapple with horrors. Within the pages of this book, we find a group of cousins who wager their pets in endless games of mahjong, a village whose inhabitants all dream the same dreams and Maurice, who watches Greta Garbo movies while waiting for death in the macabre home of his grandfather, a man suspected of sinister hypnosis and unspeakable crimes.
Kimbrell explores such themes as memory, class prejudice, family violence and greed in a flamboyant, yet matter-of-fact style to create verse that is both amusing and unsettling. Combining prose that evokes H.P. Lovecraft, classical mythology and Marcel Proust with the look and taut line of traditional formalist verse, the poems appear on the page as perfect rectangles, yet revel in narrative and linguistic absurdities.
The Primitive Observatory offers a dark and evocative experience through the tangible grotesque. Fans of David Lynch, Franz Kafka, Edward Gorey and the like will be startled, excited, and pleased by this entertaining and disturbing book of poetry.

The Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award is given every year to recognize an outstanding unpublished collection of poems. The winning collection is published by Southern Illinois University Press, and the winner is brought to Southern Illinois University–Carbondale to participate in the Little Grassy Literary Festival. Previous winners with VCU connections are Tarfia Faizullah for Seam and William Notter for Holding Everything Down.


This series is presented by the VCU Humanities Research Center and co-sponsored by VCU Libraries.

Image: The Primitive Observatory cover, by Southern Illinois University Press


VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

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