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April Blowtorch Reading

April 7, 2017

College Library will host the final Blowtorch Reading of the semester on Saturday, April 8, in the Ethnic Studies Room at College Library. This reading, with works inspired by International Poetry Month, is a locally organized event and features invited participants reading aloud or imaginatively performing published texts or historic documents that “cut through the current national situation with the precision and intensity of a blowtorch.”

Selected readings may include titles such as:

Vinay Dharwadker, a professor in the department of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies at UW-Madison, has organized this series. He explains, “More than at any other time in recent history, common citizens today need to fully explore and understand the freedoms and responsibilities of citizenship. As individuals, we must ask ourselves, what do we owe to the people we love, to our families and friends, to the places where we lead our manifold lives, to ourselves, to our nations, to our fellow human beings, and to the world at large?”

Literary texts, political constitutions and laws, documents of record, and ancient and modern classics everywhere give their audience the most precise and profound formulations of what it means to be citizens. They use “the best words in the best order” to reflect deeply on political crises and difficult times, on rights and freedoms, on moral conundrums, on abuses of power, and on the possibilities of resistance and transformation. As Dharwadker notes, “Such texts and documents have the power to speak to us and for us.”

For further details and recommended readings, see blowtorchreadings.org.