On Wednesday, October 12, at 7 p.m. Counterpath hosted a dance performance by Serena Chopra, followed by a reading by Oliver Rohe, author of Vacant Lot (Counterpath, 2011), in conversation with his translator Laird Hunt. The event featured a bilingual reading and a Q & A.
About Oliver Rohe’s Vacant Lot: Set in a city much like Beirut in the aftermath of bloody civil war, a former mercenary relates his fate and that of others of his kind after the peace. The world is rapidly healing itself—people getting back to their lives, the city being rebuilt—but he is unable to leave the site of his crimes. Rohe’s narrative is striking in its understatement: much of the work’s power lies in what’s unsaid, what’s hinted and inferred. Sentences run on and on or stop short as if they’ve reached a dead end. Repetition is a kind of entrenchment, a being stuck, perhaps in the density of poetry.
Oliver Rohe was born in 1972 of a German father and an Armenian mother from Lebanon. In 2001-2002, he was the chief editor of the book section of the magazine Chronic’Art, where he meet Jerôme Schmidt, Maxime Berrée, and Benoît Maurer. They brought together various publishing houses, Editions imho and Inculte, in order to create the eponymous bimonthly journal Inculte in September 2004. Oliver Rohe is also the author of Défaut d’origine (Allia, 2003).
Laird Hunt is the author of Neverhome (Little Brown, 2014) and four other novels, The Impossibly (2001), Indiana, Indiana (2003), The Exquisite (2006), and Ray of the Star (2013), all from Coffee House Press. He is published in France by Actes Sud, and has novels either published or forthcoming in Japan and Italy. His writings, reviews, and translations have appeared in the United States and abroad in, among other places, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, Bomb, Bookforum, Grand Street, The Believer, Fence, Conjunctions, Brick, Mentor, Inculte, and Zoum Zoum. Currently on faculty in the University of Denver’s Creative Writing Program, he has had residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France. He and his wife, the poet Eleni Sikelianos, live in Boulder, Colorado, with their daughter, Eva Grace. See www.lairdhunt.net.
Serena Chopra is a poet, dancer and visual artist. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Denver and the author of This Human (Coconut Book, 2013). She has been a company member of Evolving Doors Dance since 2010 and was a 2011-2013 resident artist at the Redline gallery. She lives and works in Denver.