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WCU Stories

MadStone Cafe & Catching Light Books hosting author Paul Worley

Paul Worley, associate professor of English at Western Carolina University, will visit MadStone Cafe & Catching Light Books at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, to present two new books on which he collaborated – “Unwriting Maya Literature: Ts'íib as Recorded Knowledge” and a poetry collection​, “Snichimal Vayuchil.”

The event is open to the public free of charge.

Paul Worley

“Unwriting Maya Literature” is designed to provide a decolonial framework for reading Maya and other indigenous texts. Through analyses of Maya cultural productions – whether textiles or poetry –  the book offers a point of departure for the study of Maya literature and art that is situated in an indigenous way of performing the act of reading. Worley’s co-author on this volume is Rita M. Palacios, a professor of liberal studies at Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

“Snichimal Vayuchil,” or “​Flowery Dream,” is based on an experimental poetry workshop in bats'i k'op, or Tsotsil Maya, where writers create poetry in their own mother language and Spanish, sharing their work as a form of what they call relational poetry. In the collection, individual workshop members present their poems in English translation, with a good deal of sonic diversity as Tsotsil and its twin, Spanish (translated here into English by Worley), are used for poetic composition.

Worley also is the author of “Telling and Being Told: Storytelling and Cultural Control in Contemporary Yucatec Maya Literatures.” He traveled to the Mexican state of Chiapas in 2017 to engage in teaching and research aimed at helping speakers of the indigenous language Tsotsil Maya learn English and, in turn, teach English to others in that linguistic group. The trip was funded through the prestigious Fulbright Scholar award program.

MadStone Cafe & Catching Light Books is a combination eatery and bookstore located in WCU’s Noble Hall. For more information, call 828-293-0741.


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