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Arts & Entertainment

Promises raft of talented wordsmiths March 18-22

The Spring Literary Festival at Western Carolina University rings in a decade this year with two authors whose works have been tagged for the silver screen.

The festival will open the evening of Sunday, March 18, and run through Thursday, March 22. All events are in the A.K. Hinds University Center or the recital hall of the Coulter Building on the WCU campus. Events are free and open to the public, and authors will sign works after each reading.


A book by Annette Debo, Western Carolina University associate professor of English, titled “The American H.D.” was recently released by the University of Iowa Press.

Weaving together literary criticism, biography, cultural history and archival research, “The American H.D.” offers a new story about the significance of the United States through a study of the life and work of modernist 20th-century writer Hilda Doolittle, who is known as “H.D.”

H.D., an American who spent her adult life abroad, helped launch the free verse movement and authored experimental novels, short and long stories, essays, reviews, a children’s book and translations. The University of Iowa Press describes H.D. as “a white writer with ties to the Harlem Renaissance; an intellectual who collaborated on avant-garde films and film criticism; and an upper-middle- class woman who refused to follow gender conventions.”


Acclaimed potter Jeffrey Oestreich will demonstrate his work and give an illustrated artist’s talk Thursday, March 15, at Western Carolina University.

Oestreich will demonstrate clay-forming techniques from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 3 p.m. in the Ward Clay Studio, Room 151 of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. Beginning at 4 p.m. he will deliver an illustrated artist’s talk in Room 130 of the Bardo Arts Center. A WCU Fine Art Museum Third Thursday wine and appetizer reception for Oestreich will be held at 5 p.m. in the arts center atrium, where a small exhibit of his work will be on display. All events are free and the public is invited.

Oestreich’s geometrically designed functional pottery is primarily salt or soda fired stoneware. A native of Taylors Fall, Minn., Oestreich was introduced to ceramics while in college by craft potter Warren MacKenzie. After earning his degree, he apprenticed for two years with British studio potter and teacher Bernard Leach.


On Friday, March 16 at 6:30pm, The Compleat Naturalist nature store in Asheville’s Historic Biltmore Village welcomes Don Wells, author of the newly-released book Mystery of the Trees. It is the never-before-told story about the curious, oddly-shaped “trail trees” that were used by Indians to guide themselves across the North American continent. The book covers six years of work in documenting a part of the cultural heritage of the Indians that is rapidly disappearing.

The methodology of bending the trees and their meaning are part of what has been lost. Wells said, “Probing the evidence will allow us to recover, explore and preserve this fascinating part of Indian culture.” In less than six years, bent trees have been documented as existing or previously existed in 39 states. Some of these trees clearly marked Indian trails. GPS and digital topographic technology are being used to correlate trees with known Indian trails and village sites.


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