Thursday Evenings at the Hearst in September

posted on Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Cedar Falls Authors Festival celebrates James Hearst in September, 2017. Find out more about the Thursday events taking place at the Hearst Center for the Arts.

Hearst Center for the Arts, Cedar Falls

This September, as the harsh beauty of autumn begins to close around us, the Cedar Falls Authors Festival is filled with events celebrating famous and beloved Cedar Falls poet, James Hearst (1900-1983). Hearst’s legacy in Cedar Falls is most tangibly felt in the Hearst Center for the Arts, where many of the events of this year’s Cedar Falls Authors Festival have taken place. 304 W. Seerley Boulevard was, until the deaths of Hearst and his wife, their home. The house was given to the city of Cedar Falls in Hearst’s will to be converted to a community arts center, which opened in 1989. There is an event at the Hearst Center for the literary-minded each Thursday evening this month.

On the first Thursday of September, listen to UNI professor and Co-Editor of North American Review Jeremy Schraffenberger discuss “James Hearst and the North American Review.” In 1968, NAR – the oldest literary magazine in the country – moved to UNI while Hearst was on the faculty. In 1974, NAR released a James Hearst issue of the magazine dedicated to Hearst’s writing and its significance. Today, the annual poetry contest of NAR is named after Hearst. Hear about these connections and more on September 7 at 7pm in the Hearst Center for the Arts!

Scott Cawelti, a former student and colleague of Hearst, will play songs from his 2010 album Landscape Iowa: 16 James Hearst Poems, Sung on Thursday, September 14 at 7pm. Accompanying these tunes will be the presentation of new Hearst-Cawelti songs, previously unrecorded. Cawelti will also discuss the process of setting Hearst’s poems to music and how the poems lend themselves to be sung. For an evening of the good-humored acoustic stylings of Scott Cawelti, as well as an in-depth look at Hearst’s best-loved poems, come to “James Hearst’s Poems as Songs: Reprise and Update” on the second Thursday of September at the Hearst Center.

The James Hearst archives are located in the Special Collections of Rod Library and still yield new discoveries, as UNI professor Jim O’Loughlin will share on Thursday, September 21 at 7pm at the Hearst Center. On this exciting evening, eighteen of Hearst’s previously unpublished poems will be unveiled for the first time to the public. The featured poems are not even available in The Complete Poems of James Hearst, a volume edited by Scott Cawelti and available in the Hearst Center shop, so make sure you attend to get an exclusive look at these ‘new’ poems.

For September 28 at the Hearst Center, nothing could be more aptly named than the Final Thursday Reading Series, which occurs on the last Thursday of each month during the UNI academic year. The event consists of an open mic beginning at 7:15pm (sign-up at 7:00) and a featured reader at 8pm. The featured reader for September is Vince Gotera, UNI professor of English and author of poetry collections Fighting Kite (Pecan Grove Press) and Ghost Wars (Final Thursday Press).

If you’ve never experienced James Hearst’s poetry before, this is an excellent time to start. His poems take readers to a faraway nearby—the farmlands of Black Hawk County in the 20th century. Many of his poems look through the eyes of a hardworking Iowa farmer. They are complex poems:  sad, stoic, hopeful, and humorous at different turns. As for the complexity of Iowa, as Hearst wrote in one of his most famous poems “Landscape: Iowa” — “No one who lives here knows how to tell a stranger what it’s like, the land, I mean.”

The Cedar Falls Authors Festival has three additional events in September featuring authors Herb Hake, Jeff Copeland, Liane Nichols, and Ruth Suckow. See the full schedule here.

Need ideas of Places to Stay and Places to Eat & Drink while you're in Cedar Falls? Call us at 800-845-1955 or stop by the Cedar Falls Visitor Center. We're located at 6510 Hudson Road and we're open seven days a week.

Special thanks to Hannah Carr-Murphy for her guest blog post about James Hearst and the Hearst Center for the Arts.

Hearst Center of the Arts and James Hearst - celebrated by the Cedar Falls Authors Festival in September, 2017

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