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Justin Hocking's "The Great Floodgates Of The Wonderworld" On Thursday's Access Utah

Greywolf Press

  Justin Hocking, author of the memoir, “The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld,” writes: “Fifteen years ago, I first dove into the immense, dark waters of Melville's masterpiece...I became obsessed with a book about obsession. More so when I discovered some critical work that compared Moby-Dick's narrative trajectory with Carl Jung's concept of the night sea journey—the dark passages that we all embark on, where we find ourselves floating and directionless, frightened and alone. At age thirty, I relocated to New York City. With no job prospects, it was both the boldest and the most senseless move of my life…in the wake of a painful break-up and a traumatic robbery, I soon found myself on my own night sea journey. It was a time during which, to paraphrase Joan Didion, I lost my own life's narrative. Without my own script, I clung to Moby-Dick as a kind of postmodern survival guide.” “Wonderworld,” published by Graywolf Press, also takes us into the worlds of skateboarding and New York surfing culture, and Wednesday night meetings of men striving to overcome addictions.    


Justin Hocking was raised in Colorado and California and has been avidly involved in skateboarding and surfing for more than twenty years. He served as Executive Director of the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) from 2006 to mid-2014, and is highly active in creative community-building, small-press publishing, and the increasing synthesis of book arts with literary pursuits. His memoir, “The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld,” won the 2015 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. “Wonderworld” was also a Barnes and Nobel Discover Great New Writers selection, a Library Journal "Best Books of 2014" pick, and one of "Ten Brilliant Books That Will Grab You From Page One" in The Huffington Post and Kirkus Reviews. He is a recipient of the Willamette Writers' 2014 Humanitarian Award for his work in publishing, writing and teaching, and was named as one of "Ten Writers Who Made Portland" by Willamette Week. His nonfiction and fiction have appeared in the Rumpus, Orion Magazine, The Normal School, Portland Review, The Portland Noir Anthology, Poets and Writers Magazine,Swap/Concessions, Rattapallax, and elsewhere.


He is a co-founder, with A.M. O'Malley, of the IPRC's yearlong Certificate Program in Creative Writing, which pairs advanced writing workshops with intensive instruction in letterpress printing, book arts, graphic design, and printing, with optional college credit available via Marylhurst University. He also teaches in Eastern Oregon University's Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing, where he is a co-founder and lead instructor of the Wilderness Writing Concentration—a unique course of study that blends graduate-level writing instruction with immersive wilderness excursions.


Justin Hocking holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Colorado State University, and has participated in residencies at Sitka Center For Art and Ecology, and Signal Fire. He is the recipient of a 2015 Oregon Literary Fellowship and two Regional Arts and Culture Council Project Grant awards. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.