Photo by Tim Fitzwater
David Giffels, the "Bard of Akron"
Brews & Prose, the only reading series in Cleveland where you get a free beer with the purchase of a book, returns to the basement of Market Garden Brewery Tuesday night (tonight) with readings by Akron nonfiction writer David Giffels and Cleveland Heights poet Lucy Biederman. (See official bios below.)
Giffels' new memoir, Furnishing Eternity,
was published this week. It recounts the construction of his own casket with his father, Thomas Giffels, a woodworker and retired civil engineer. The project was conceived in part as a reflection on mortality as Giffels approached 50. Giffels spoke with The Plain Dealer's
John Petkovic about the endeavor.
In tragic news, Thomas Giffels passed away Friday during David's whirlwind publicity tour for the book. The Akron Beacon-Journal has a beautiful write-up
"I think he wanted to spend the weekend in heaven," David Giffels wrote on Facebook. "Near the end, he said he wasn't sad about dying, only about the fact that other people will be sad. So I choose to mourn him with joy."
The New York Times knighted Giffels the "bard of Akron" in its review of Furnishing Eternity,
which it called "tender, witty and, like the woodworking it describes, painstakingly and subtly wrought."
You can listen to Giffels discuss the book with Sound of Ideas host Mike McIntyre here. The conversation begins at the 24:00 mark
The reading this evening
begins at 7 p.m. at Market Garden (1947 W. 25th St.) In other literary news, Brews & Prose co-founder Dave Lucas was just named
the second Ohio poet laureate by Governor John Kasich.
is the author of the memoir, Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life
, to be published by Scribner in January 2018. His previous books include The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches From the Rust Belt
(Scribner 2014), a New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice” and nominee for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the memoir All the Way Home
(William Morrow/HarperCollins 2008), winner of the Ohioana Book Award. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic.com, Parade, the Wall Street Journal, Esquire.com, Grantland.com, Redbook, and many other publications. He also was a writer for the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head. He is an associate professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches creative nonfiction in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program.
Lucy Biederman's The Walmart Book of the Dead
was the 2017 Vine Leaves Vignette Award Grand Finalist. Her essays, short stories, and poems have appeared recently in AGNI, Ploughshares, wigleaf, and Zocalo Public Square. Her academic articles have appeared in The Henry James Review, Women's Studies, and elsewhere. She teaches technical writing at Case Western Reserve University and lives in Cleveland Heights.