Introduction – to Bryan Parys and “Wake, Sleeper”

Welcome to this wonderful, quite singular event,
a concert of sight and sound and taste – conspiring and consorting in this grand old magical Ware Theatre, now the Cabot—

All remarking and rising from the main attraction, which is the release and the reading from Wake, Sleeper by, yes, the author of all this artful synesthesia – Bryan Parys.

A man somehow loved by friend and foe alike…

I’m one of the friends, and former professor, and now current student of all of our readers tonight.

First, join me in appreciating tonight’s conspirators:

We’ve been loving the music of Cal Joss,
and of Aisha Burns,
and, soon, of Natalie Parys—

while savoring the art installations by Marika Whitaker,
and Maia Mattson,
and K. Lee Mock—

and while admiring the prints & posters of Jon Misarski,
and Grant Hanna—
that have beautifully inclined us toward this evening.

Shortly, we’ll relish the poetry of Pete Murdoch, and Jonathan Bennett Bonilla—and whoever else Jon might evoke or evince.

There are more people to be mentioned and thanked, but I’ll let Bryan get on with that.

 

Bryan Parys first showed up in my world a-couple-maybe-a-dozen-years back.

He seemed not to know quite what to do at first, and for a while he cast about, like a noiseless, patient spider.

Maybe not, exactly—but at length his intellect fastened on to writing, and there he began to spin, to see what might come of it.

Poems came of it, plays came of it—each and all with his evidencing style and appreciable appreciation of what is true,
the worth to be found in the serviceable phenomena of our everyday world.

Shortly thereafter in an office full of Norm Jones and me, he read aloud an essay he’d spun up about his childhood game of hyssop tag.
Didn’t Jones and I laugh and murmur?—suspended by his blend of humor and candor and discovery.

From that office, thence to UNH, on a scholarship, to study (and then to teach, winningly) nonfiction, the lyrical essay, and then, happily, back to Gordon classrooms again, this time to buffet and abrade and improve students who (like him not so long ago) don’t know what’s at stake, what’s worthy the reaching for, or how to reach for it.

In classrooms, I say, and in casual conversations, in the pages of Stillpoint he shows us just that—takes what is offered, what is available, and illumines it. His column, sporks, is the first illuminated manuscript turned to by 9 out of 10 Stillpoint readers, and for good reason.

For the last eight years he’s been essaying to discover something, and something worth saying, about his own available life—its beginnings in loss, its assemblings in gymnasiums, its arrival at a tentative equilibrium & a definite wakefulness.

Tonight we’ll hear some of his essaying-in-prose.

We’re enriched to know him, we’re enlarged to read him, we’re pleased to welcome him—and to recommend his terrific, new book

The man of this and every hour: Bryan Parys.

No one slept at this March 31, 2016 event—part-reading, part concert, part-gallery exhibition, part-art bazaar. Part magic trick: do that again.

bp front of cabot smaller

Wake, Sleeper is a brave, irreverent, funny and stunningly generous exploration of faith and resistance to it, of identity, of grief, of the joy of intellectual and spiritual inquiry.”
-MEREDITH HALL, author of the best-selling memoir Without a Map

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