Saturday, April 21, 2001

William Kittredge

William Kittredge became a major cultural voice with his 1987 collection of essays Owning It All, which mapped the emotional terrain of the modern West. His memoir, Hole In The Sky,

was marked by questionings, qualifications, wonderings. His task was introspection, the examined life, a cutting away of rationalizations, self-dissection. He explained from the outset that his was a memoir of failure. The book describes his childhood and youth farming in the Warner Valley of southeastern Oregon, up to the point when he is thrust out of that isolated insular Eden.

In his book of short stories We Are Not In This Together, and book of essays Who Owns The West?, Kittredge pursued and dismantled the Western moral code that emphasized independence, hierarchy, private ownership and resource exploitation. Kittredge’s most recent book, published by Knopf in December 2000, is a wide-ranging inquiry. He ponders how to create physical and spiritual sustainability of all creatures. He touches on the cave-paintings at Lacaus, France, the World Bank, Twelfth Century Italian mosaics and the life of Frederico Garcia Lorca. The goal is to reconcile the needs of people with the needs of places and creatures. The Nature of Generosity, Kittredge says, "proceeds more like a dance than an argument."

William Kittredge grew up on the MC Ranch in southeastern Oregon, farmed until he was 35, studied in the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, and became the Regents Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Montana until he retired in the spring of 1997. He received numerous prestigious awards including a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford, two Writing Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and two Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Awards for Excellence. He was co-producer of the movie "A River Runs Through It."

He is also the author of Western novels of the "Cord" Series, the short story collection The Van Gogh Field, and a book of essays Owning It All. With Annick Smith, he edited The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology.

Garrett Kaoru Hongo

Garrett Hongo was born in 1951 in the back room of a general store built by his grandfather in Volcano, Hawaii. His family left Volcano when he was less than a year old and Hongo grew up in South-Central Los Angeles. He received a BA cum laude in English from Pomona College, and a Master of Fine Arts in English from the University of California at Irvine. He also participated in graduate studies in Japanese language and literature at the University of Michigan and graduate studies in critical theory at the University of California-Irving. He lives in Eugene and is a Distinguished Professor of Arts and Science as the University of Oregon where he is Director of the Creative Writing Program. He speaks Japanese, German, Spanish and English.

Garrett is the author of three books: Volcano: A Memoir of Hawaii, Yellow Light, and The River of Heaven, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He also edited the anthologies The Open Boat: poems from Asian America and Songs My Mother Taught Me. He received the Oregon Book Award for non-fiction in 1996, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.