Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reading: Otterbein College, February 25th, 2010

For the first time since 1997!

It's been a long time, but I'll be reading at my old college in Westerville, OH on this Thursday, February 25 at 4 p.m. in Towers Hall 112 for the 2009-2010 Writer's Series. Other writers this year included Ann Pancake, Mark Doty and Richard Gilbert. (I should note that it's now a university, but forgive me, old habits die hard.)

The Otterbein Writers' Series brings poets and writers to campus for readings and workshops. Its purpose is to provide students and faculty, and also area residents, with chances to meet contemporary writers and to hear literary works performed. So, I'm quite excited. 
Thinking back, the writer I first really remember at Otterbein was Heather McHugh, and her poem, What He Thought. And for years, I thought that's how poets were and should be. Of course I met many others along the way, like Diane Kendig, who taught me quite a bit about Neruda.

Otterbein is a member of the Ohio Poetry Circuit, a consortium of nine Ohio colleges that cooperate to bring nationally known poets to Ohio. Recent circuit poets have included the current and previous U.S. poet laureates, Billy Collins and Robert Pinsky, as well as many renowned poets such as William Stafford, Mary Oliver, Stephen Dunn and Yusef Komunyakaa. In recent years, the Writers' Series has been assisted by grants from the Perceval Fund of the Columbus Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council in expanding events to include a week-long festival of readings and workshops about writing and the teaching of writing.

The Writers' Series has also initiated participation by graduates of the Otterbein English program. These writers have included fiction writer Michael Olin-Hitt (class of 1986) and John Deever (class of 1990), author of Singing on the Heavy Side of the World: A Peace Corps Ukraine Story.  
Otterbein was obviously a formative part of my experience as a writer, where I also received many of my first literary awards for my work as a student, so I am excited and honored to be returning there after nearly 20 years since I first set foot there.

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