March 31, 2010
10-060

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

Acclaimed Poet to Share Provoking Works April 2

VALDOSTA -- Acclaimed poet Dorianne Laux will share her works at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 2, in the University Center. The reading, which is free and open to the public, is meant to expose people to enriching and thoughtful ideas and challenge them to think deeply about their culture and purpose.

The author of four poetic volumes, Laux’s latest book “Facts about the Moon” won the Oregon Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The English professor at North Carolina University was a sanatorium cook, a gas station manager, a maid, and a donut holer before receiving a bachelor’s degree in English from Mills College in 1988. Many of her accessible and provoking works are derived from her motley past.

Dr. Marty Williams, VSU English professor, said the department participates in the Georgia Poetry Circuit to ensure that the university community hears poetic voices from across the nation as a way to deepen their educational and cultural experience.

“Institutionally, bringing poets, authors, artists, and guest speakers to the university fulfills key elements of the VSU mission to maintain ‘a commitment to scholarly and creative work’ and to pursue activities that ‘aid the educational, economic, cultural, and social advancement of its region,’” Williams said. “Visiting writers, artists, and other speakers challenge students, faculty, and community alike to think deeply about why we're here and how we make the world better.”

Laux, who spends her summers teaching poetry workshops in Italy and Guatemala, is the recipient of a variety of prizes, including two Best American Poetry prizes, and fellowships such as The National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim. Her work has appeared in the Best of the American Poetry Review, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and Best of the Net; and she is a frequent contributor to magazines, including the New York Quarterly, Orion and Ms. Magazine.

Williams said Laux is visiting at an ideal time, as literary buffs celebration National Poetry Month in April. Poetry's roots are both “as ancient as language and as contemporary as conversation,” William said. Readings, book displays and workshops are wonderful ways to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.

“It is art that comes out of the body,” Williams said. “We all know poetry even if we don't know we know it. In its more popular forms, it can make its way into the music we listen to daily, like Wyn Cooper's poem ‘Fun’; while in its most earnest forms, it can be the grounding for a nation's culture -- The Illiad, for example. Poetry means "making" in its original Greek, so it works to make the unsayable sayable. Poetry at its best is new speech, or speech made anew, even when it covers what one might think is an old idea.”

Read more about Laux at www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/742 or flip through one of her works: “Awake” (1990), “What We Carry” (1994), Smoke (2000), “Facts About the Moon” (2005), and “Superman: The Chapbook (2008).