Laura Thomas - University of Michigan RC Creative Writing Program Head
States of Motion
Laura Hulthen Thomas's short fiction and essays have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including The Cimarron Review, Nimrod International Journal, Epiphany, and Witness. She received her MFA in fiction writing from Warren Wilson College. She currently heads the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan's Residential College, where she teaches fiction and creative nonfiction.
Laura Kasischke has published nine collections of poetry and nine novels. Her newest publication is her collected poetry, entitled WHERE NOW (Copper Canyon Press, 2017.). She’s been the recipient of the National Book Critics Award for Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rilke Award, among other honors. She is the Allan Seager Collegiate Professor of English at the University of Michigan, where she teaches creative writing in the Residential College and in the Helen Zell Writer’s Program.
Newton's Laws of Motion describe the relationship between a body and its response to the forces acting upon it. For the men and women in States of Motion, imbalance is a way of life. Set in Michigan small towns both real and fictional, the stories in Laura Hulthen Thomas's collection take place against a backdrop of economic turmoil and the domestic cost of the war on terror. As familiar places, privilege, and faith disappear, what remains leaves these broken characters wondering what hope is left for them. These stories follow blue collars and white, cops and immigrants, and mothers and sons as they defend a world that is quickly vanishing.
The eight stories in States of Motion follow tough, quixotic characters struggling to reinvent themselves even as they cling to what they've lost. A grieving father embraces his town's suspicions of him as the sole suspect in his daughter's disappearance. A driving instructor struggles to care for his abusive mother between training lessons with two flirtatious teens. A behavioral researcher studying the fear response must face her own fears when her childhood attacker returns to ask for her forgiveness. Conditioned by their traumatic pasts to be both sympathetic and numb to suffering, the characters in these stories clutch at a chance to find peace on the other side of terror. From the isolated roadways of Michigan's countryside to the research labs of a major university, the way forward is both one last hope and a deep-seated fear.
The profoundly emotional stories in States of Motion will interest any reader of contemporary literary fiction.
Laura Kasischke's long-awaited selected poems presents the breadth of her probing vision that subverts the so-called "normal." A lover of fairy tales, Kasischke showcases her command of the symbolic, with a keen attention to sound in her exploration of the everyday--whether reflections on loss or the complicated realities of childhood and family. As literary critic Stephen Burt wrote in Boston Review, "The future will not see us by one poet alone....If there is any justice in that future, Kasischke is one of the poets it will choose."