Writers Speak Welcomes New Hires: Amy Hempel and Cornelius Eady

Cornelius Eady Chris Cooper

Get out your Kleenex, should Amy Hempel choose to read "In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried," her most famous story, and justifiably one of the most anthologized of the last 30 years -- a meditation on friendship and loss that also touches on life in Los Angeles and even the regrettably familiar particulars of an extended hospital stay. To say nothing of one of the most moving "kickers," to borrow a term from journalism, in the American short-story tradition.

Of course, who knows what she might read on Wednesday at 7 p.m., as she starts off this fall's free Writers Speak series at the Stony Brook Southampton campus. The occasion, what's more, will welcome her and her fellow new full-time hire in the M.F.A. program in creative writing and literature, the poet Cornelius Eady, who will join her in reading.

With another poet, Toi Derricotte, in 1996 Mr. Eady founded the Cave Canem Foundation, a nonprofit that supports black poets, and he went on to be named as a finalist for a 2001 National Book Award for his collection "Brutal Imagination." He is known for incorporating jazz and the blues in his poetry, the latest collection of which is "Hardheaded Weather," from 2008.

The Writers Speak readings are held in the Radio Lounge -- so named as the former home of the local public radio station -- upstairs in Chancellors Hall. They start with a reception at 6:30 p.m.

Next up in the series, on Oct. 4, is Katha Pollitt, a feminist poet and essayist best known for her column in The Nation, who will be interviewed by Emily Gilbert, the managing editor of The Southampton Review, followed on Oct. 11 by Jennifer Gilmore, a novelist, and on Oct. 18 by Tara Clancy, a memoirist who has appeared on "The Moth," speaking with that radio program's artistic director, Catherine Burns. Nov. 8 brings two poets, Kimiko Hahn of Queens College and Michelle Whittaker, whose poem "Process," for one, appeared in The New Yorker. Students in the M.F.A. program will wrap up the series on Dec. 6.

Amy HempelRichard Kern