Joel Peckham, author and UC Clermont College associate professor of English, will read and sign copies of his new book Resisting Elegy: On Grief and Recovery on Wednesday, May 30, 2012, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Stanley J. Lucas, MD, Board Room of the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions, which is located on the E Level of the Medical Sciences Building (MSB).
In this thoughtful collection of narratives, Peckham explores the transformative power of emotional and physical pain from the vantage point of a husband and parent who lost his wife and a child in an accident that left him in chronic distress. Along the way, he fills a need for a brutally honest, literary examination of not only grief and suffering, but also of recovery.
On February 7, 2004, while traveling from Aqaba to Amman in Jordan, Peckham, his two sons, mother-in-law, and his wife, Susan Atefat Peckham, were in a car crash. Susan and their oldest son, Cyrus, were killed, while Peckham was left temporarily crippled and suffering from intense neuropathy.
The narratives in Resisting Elegy are the result of this experience and its aftermath. To face the truth of the tragedy and the truth of the recovery process, Peckham approaches guilt, grief, anxiety, physical and emotional therapy, chronic pain, single-parenting, marriage, writing, and cultural conflict. The chapters in the book appear chronologically, not in the order of the events they describe, but by the time and occasion in which they were written. In this way, the book reveals the non-linear, disjunctive progress of the human mind as it navigates through the wreckage of the past while trying to clear a way forward.
In 2003-2004, Peckham won a Fulbright teaching scholarship to the University of Jordan, and in 2011, he was a finalist for both the New Rivers MVP Prize and the Sol Books Prize. He is also the author of three collections of poetry: Nightwalking, The Heat of What Comes, and Movers and Shakers, and his literary essays on grief and recovery have appeared in a number of publications, including River Teeth, The North American Review, and Under the Sun and Brevity. He lives with his son, Darius, and his second wife, Rachael, in Huntington, WV.
The reading and book signing is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served. Published by Academy Chicago Publishers, copies of Resisting Elegy will be available for purchase at the event.