cover image Lecture


Mary Cappello. Transit, $15.95 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-945492-42-6

Cappello (Life Breaks In: A Mood), a University of Rhode Island English and creative writing professor, turns her attention to the untapped possibilities of the lecture in this eloquent first entry in Transit’s Undelivered Lectures series. Cappello opens with a defense of the lecture “as a form of art,” rather than as a dull classroom ritual, and moves on to the alternate forms it might take, in order to become more rewarding and engaging for both the lecturer and the lectured-to. What if it started with the question-and-answer portion, instead of ending with that? Or if it was understood as the performed version of nonfiction writing—specifically, the essay? Cappello suggests that lecturers should allow themselves to meander and investigate their subjects, just as essayists often do. In a gorgeous examination of poet Louise Bogan’s notes for a planned 1962 lecture at Bennington (with photographs included), Cappello explains that good lectures should show evidence of how to “think with rather than of” ideas. After reading this eloquent book, anyone will agree that, even with the ever-increasing rise of student-directed learning and online education, the lecture is not archaic, but rather waiting for a vital new mode. (Sept.)