Authors Gregory Ellis and Jonas Zdanys Collaborate on Literary Presentation at SHU

News Story: April 1, 2010
The Ryan-Matura Library will present ‘ A Literary Afternoon at Sacred Heart University’, a conversation with Professor Jonas Zdanys, author of The Thin Light of Winter, and Greg Ellis, author of Ride the Buffalo’s Back, on Tuesday, April 27 at 3:30pm. In conjunction with the English Department’s Creative Writing program, novelist Gregory Ellis and poet Jonas Zdanys will read from their new books. This event is free and open to the public.

Gregory Ellis majored in music at Amherst College and has sung and played at night clubs throughout the country.  He received a law degree from UCLA School of Law as well as an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.  He lives in Los Angeles, where he practices appellate law, continues to perform in local clubs, and is at work on his second novel.  Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits, Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette, and other works, has said this about Ellis’ novel:  Ride the Buffalo’s Back “reminds me of the way James Baldwin wrote about music in Sonny's Blues, and like Baldwin, Ellis offers a kind of salvation through music. The shadow of Vietnam and the moral shambles of Watergate are all over this novel.  I don't think there's a post-Vietnam novel to compare to this one. In Ride the Buffalo’s Back, another post-war lost generation is commemorated. I found this novel exceptionally memorable and moving.”

Jonas Zdanys majored in English at Yale University and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature from the State University of New York. He is an award-winning bilingual poet and translator and author of thirty-eight books, thirty-four of them collections of poetry and of translations from Lithuanian. He has received a number of prizes and book awards. He lives in North Haven and presently serves as associate vice president for Academic Affairs and professor of English at Sacred Heart University, where he teaches creative writing. World Literature Today describes his work as “dense, carefully chiseled, and very original” and notes that his “poetic quality is achieved through unusual images, masterful use of rhythmic repetition, and unformulated messages, where exposition is pared down to the bone, conveying to the penetrating language the forcefulness of Greek tragedy.”  He is currently at work on a new collection of his own poetry and on a volume of translations into English of Lithuanian poetry.