Watershed Reading: Martin Seay, Kathleen Rooney and Michael Bazzett

Three visiting writers - two from Chicago and one from Minneapolis - with acclaimed new books join us for an unforgettable reading. 

About The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay: 

The Mirror Thief is a dazzling combination of a genre-hopping adventure, a fast-paced mystery, and literary verve. Set in three cities in three eras, The Mirror Thief calls to mind David Mitchell and Umberto Eco in its serendipitous mix of entertainment and literary mastery.

"Audaciously well-written...the book I was raving about to my friends before I'd even finished it."  - The New York Times Book Review

"A wondrous debut, a deliciously intricate, centuries-spanning tripartite tale of money and mysticism…Mr. Seay has conjured his own kind of sorcery, a sophisticated thriller that keeps the pages turning even as it teases the mind.” - Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

About René Magritte: Selected Writings edited by Kathleen Rooney and Eric Plattner:

Available for the first time in an English translation, this selection of René Magritte’s writings gives non-Francophone readers the chance to encounter the many incarnations of the renowned Belgian painter—the artist, the man, the aspiring noirist, the fire-breathing theorist—in his own words. Through whimsical personal letters, biting apologia, appreciations of fellow artists, pugnacious interviews, farcical film scripts, prose poems, manifestos, and much more, a new Magritte emerges: part Surrealist, part literalist, part celebrity, part rascal.While this book is sure to appeal to admirers of Magritte’s art and those who are curious about his personal life, there is also much to delight readers interested in the history and theory of art, philosophy and politics, as well as lovers of creativity and the inner workings of a probing, inquisitive mind unrestricted by genre, medium or fashion.

“In one of the prose-poems reproduced here we learn that ‘mystery is what is absolutely necessary in order for reality to exist’. These things you perhaps learn in Lessines. How very weird ordinary things can become! Selected Writings is nicely presented, properly scholarly and dense with interest.” - Stephen Bayley, The Spectator (UK)

About You Must Remember This by Michael Bazzett:

A woozy logic dominates these poems: a heart can become a buzzing hive of bees, a rooster can trigger a series of bombs, a young man can embrace a city bus as his spirit animal. Yet Bazzett laces his poems with a dangerous wit. ”Your humor is deft and cutting / my fingers off one by one," as one poem puts it. Once dismembered, Bazzett’s poems can re-member us and piece together the ways in which we once thought we knew ourselves, creating a new, strange sense of self.

"Powered by the engine of the tricky dreaming mind, the poems in You Must Remember This are both hauntingly fable-like and delightfully idiosyncratic. Offering spectacular insight into the idea of longing for one’s own estranged self, Bazzett’s poems are as tragic and unsettling as they are compelling and beautifully precise.” - Ada Limón

Writer Martin Seay

Martin Seay’s first novel, The Mirror Thief, was released by Melville House in May.  Other writing has recently appeared in Electric Literature, Lit Hub, Publishers Weekly, MAKE, and the Believer.  Originally from Texas, he lives in Chicago with his spouse, the writer Kathleen Rooney.

Writer Kathleen Rooney

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, a publisher of literary work in hybrid genres, and a founding member of Poems While You Wait. Co-editor of The Selected Writings of René Magritte, forthcoming from Alma Books (UK) and University of Minnesota Press (U.S.) in 2016, she is also the author of seven books of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including, most recently, the novel O, Democracy! (2014) and the novel in poems Robinson Alone (2012). Her second novel, What Makes You Seek Your Fortune Here, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in 2017. 

Poet Michael Bazzett

Michael Bazzett is a poet and teacher. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Massachusetts Review, Pleiades, Guernica, Virginia Quarterly Review, Copper Nickel, the Rumpus, and Best New Poets. You Must Remember This, his debut collection, received the 2014 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry from Milkweed Editions, where he has two additional collections forthcoming: The Interrogation, and The Popul Vuh, the first English verse translation of the Mayan creation epic. Bazzett is also the author of two chapbooks, The Imaginary City (OW! Arts) and The Unspoken Jokebook (forthcoming from OW!). He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two children. 


Ready to Visit?

Arts + Literature Laboratory is located in Madison’s Schenk-Atwood neighborhood at 2021 Winnebago Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53704.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11am-3pm during exhibitions or by appointment. Please check the exhibitions calendar before planning your visit, as the gallery is closed between exhibitions and other schedule changes are posted here.


Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Stay up to date on upcoming programs and opportunities through our monthly newsletter.