R263. The Animal That Therefore I Am: “I”-ing and Eyeing the Animal

Room 207A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Thursday, February 9, 2017
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


Derrida once lectured for eight hours about standing naked in front of his staring cat. Essayists are known for standing “naked” in front of their audiences, looking at the world while also looking in. How do these two acts of gazing converge when essayists turn to animals? What are the problems of anthropomorphism? In this panel, five authors of recent creative nonfiction on the animal kingdom discuss their approaches to essaying animals, combining their “I” with the eye of the house cat (or of the tiger).



Clinton Crockett Peters will soon publish an essay collection, Pandora's Garden, with University of Georgia Press. He's won literary prizes from Shenandoah, North American Review, and Columbia. He holds an MFA in nonfiction from Iowa and has work in Orion, the Rumpus, Fourth Genre, and Hotel Amerika.

Elena Passarello is the author of two essay collections: the forthcoming Animals Strike Curious Poses and Let Me Clear My Throat. A recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award, she coedits the In Place book series for West Virginia University Press and teaches in the MFA program at Oregon State University.

Steven Church is the author of The Guinness Book of Me: A Memoir of Record, Theoretical Killings: Essays and Accidents, The Day After The Day After: My Atomic Angst, Ultrasonic: Soundings, and One with the Tiger. A founding editor of the Normal School, he teaches in the MFA at Fresno State.

Matthew Gavin Frank is the author of the nonfiction books, The Mad FeastPreparing the GhostPot Farm, and Barolo, and the poetry books, The Morrow PlotsWarranty in Zulu, and Sagittarius Agitprop. He teaches at Northern Michigan University.

Lisa Couturier is author of the essay collection, The Hopes of Snakes, and of the chapbook, Animals/Bodies, winner of the New England Poetry Club 2015 Chapbook Award. She is a notable essayist in Best American Essays, 2004, 2006 and 2011, and a Pushcart Prize winner for her essay "Dark Horse."


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center