9A - Monday, October 23, 2006 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
FINE ART' yiI'
Benefit to tout young lit alternative to' Harry Potter' mainstream
By TANIA STRAUSS
Daily Arts Writer
Inspiring younger readers is a difficult task at
atime when the most highly publicized literature
geared toward people under
30 consists of the "Harry Unsquared
Potter" series and cotton-
candy chick-lit (see "The Tomorrow
Devil Wears Prada"). at 7 p.m.
Tomorrow night at 7 Free
p.m., some of Ann Arbor's t
literary figures will slice At Shaman Drum
through all the fluff at the
release of the anthology "Unsquared: Ann Arbor
Writers Unleash Their Edgiest Poems and Sto-
ries" at Shaman Drum.
The anthology, and the series of readings sur-
rounding its release, is the joint effort ofJeff Kass
of The Neutral Zone and Amy Sumerton of 826
Michigan. Both of these writers, like the organi-
zationstheyworkwith, are dedicatedtofostering
literary creativity in young people. All the profits
from the sale of "Unsquared" will benefit the
writing workshops and other projects helmed by
the two organizations.
The inspiration for "Unsquared" came from
"The Best American Nonrequired Reading,"
an anthology of fiction and non-fiction com-
YEARS AGO, THE
WE KNOW HER
WAS A VOID, A
GOOD AND EVIL.
THEN CAME THE
FORM OF A
REMUS AS WELL
AS GET THE
TIGERS INTO THE
ARTS AND GET
US OUT OF HERE
BEFORE 4 A.M.
piled annually by Dave Eggers, author of "A
Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" and
creator of 826 Valencia, the organization that
began the 826 franchise. Like Eggers's anthol-
ogy, "Unsquared" attempts to peak the interest
of people in their teens and 20s who may not be
interested in popular literature by assembling a
collection of gritty, accessible work by a variety
"It's essentially targeted toward young
people who aren't necessarily interested in
mainstream literature, but are looking for
something a little snore off-beat," Jeff Kass
wrote in an email. "There had to be something
about the piece that (Amy Sumerton and I)
thought would catch the interest of a 19-year-
old kid who may or may not be in school, but
spent a fair amount of time kind of lost in his or
her parents' basement."
The anthology's title cleverly suggest its
premise: All the poems, stories and essays in
the anthology are by local writers, some with
established, high-profile writing careers and
some who have never been published before.
Today's reading at Shaman Drum will feature
department of English Profs. Peter Ho Davis and
Julie Orringer, RC sophomore Claire Forster and
teenage slam poets Angel Nafis and Ben Alfaro.
Other contributors to the anthology include,
among many others, New York Times bestselling
author Elizabeth Kostova, previously published
faculty members Eileen Pollack, Thomas Lynch
and Keith Taylor, and current and former under-
graduate students Adam Falkner, Molly Raynor,
and Lauren Whitehead.
Shaman Drum is set to
host Ann Arbor's best
literary voices, with the
release of "Unsquared."
"The purpose is to get younger people
involved in reading. It's hoped that if the subject
matter is edgier it would attract a younger audi-
ence," said Julie Orringer, who will read from
her story "Care" tomorrow tonight. The story
follows a young woman in San Francisco strug-
gling with drug addiction, and loses track of her
niece because she is on drugs while she is sup-
posed to be babysitting. "I wanted to focus on
the mind of someone who is barely hanging on
to her composure."
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