Eastern Oregon University > Academics > Novelists discuss healthcare, risk and purpose at Ars Poetica

Novelists discuss healthcare, risk and purpose at Ars Poetica

Novelists discuss healthcare, risk and purpose at Ars Poetica  

Feb. 23, 2022 LA GRANDE, Ore. – It’s time to tackle the question of what it means to live and what we’re willing to sacrifice to save lives with “Cost of Living” and “Lightning Flowers” by Emily Maloney and Katherine Standefer. 

Eastern Oregon University wraps up it’s Carl and Sandra Ellston Ars Poetica Reading and Conversation Series for winter term with a discussion on healthcare from authors Maloney and Standefer. 

“This time we have Emily Maloney, whose book, ‘Cost of Living,’ actually just came out last week and is being very well received,” said Assistant Professor of English/Writing Nick Neely. “She’s been in conversation with a lot of exceptional nonfiction writers on her virtual book tour. She’ll be reading and conversing with Katherine Standefer, who is from Arizona, and her book, ‘Lightning Flowers.’” 

Maloney, a former healthcare worker, discusses the various issues and complexities of the American healthcare system and lifesaving treatment in “Cost of Living.”  

“Maloney’s book, ‘Cost of Living,’ is essays from her perspective both as an ER technician and as someone who went through very serious health issues. So, she looks at both sides of healthcare,” Neely said. 

Standefer recounts researching and coming to terms with her cardiac defibrillator and the healthcare industry’s reliance on technology in “Lightning Flowers.” 

“‘Lightning Flowers’ is about her complicated relationship to her own cardiac defibrillator after she was shocked by it. It made her think deeply about the role of that machine in her body, and she went on an investigative journey to discover all the impacts that the creation of the defibrillator has around the world,” Neely said. 

The upcoming discussion will be led by Ashland-based EOU Master of Fine Arts faculty member Melissa Matthewson, author of “Tracing the Desire Line.”  

“‘Tracing the Desire Line,’ is about place—it’s about living in southern Oregon and is an exploration of her family—but it’s also very much about the body, so it seems like they’ll be a good trio. Melissa will be leading the conversation, asking the questions, and she helped arrange the event,” Neely said.  

This will be the first Ars Poetica event for all three authors. Discussion will take place after short readings from “Cost of Living” and “Lightning Flowers.”  

“It’s a unique pairing, and then with Melissa involved, too, it’s just kind of a triumvirate of essayists on the body and on healthcare issues. I’m sure some really thoughtful fireworks will come out of the discussion. Both Maloney and Standefer will read for about 10 minutes each and then they’ll have a round-table discussion,” Neely said.  

The event takes place at 6 p.m. on March 3 over Zoom. Pre-registration is required. Click here to register. To learn more or view recent Ars Poetica sessions, visit eou.edu/mfa/visiting-writers