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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet to Visit KU

October 16, 2013

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - Internationally renowned poet Sharon Olds will visit Kutztown University and read from her work on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. in Old Main's Georgian Room (163). A book signing and light refreshments will follow the reading, which is free and open to the public.

Olds is the author of 12 books of poetry, most recently "Stag's Leap," for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and became the first American to win Britain's T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. Often credited as one of contemporary poetry's leading voices, Olds was the New York State poet laureate from 1998 - 2000 and teaches creative writing at New York University, where she holds the Erich Maria Remarque professorship.

"The fact that an esteemed poet is coming to KU shows the emerging strength of the English department and the commitment of the university to the arts," said Dr. Andrew Vogel, associate professor of English and graduate program coordinator. "The audience will hear Olds' vibrant verse read in her voice. She is a stunning performer of the spoken word."

Olds will also conduct a private master class for KU students on Friday, Oct. 25. During the class, students will discuss Olds' work and the state of writing in America today.

The English department has been preparing for Olds' visit; professors have been teaching her poetry in their classes, so students can get the most out of their interactions with her, and the English Club has been reading her collections outside of class.

"What makes her writing so great is the perfect combination of sophistication and accessibility," Vogel explained. "The things she writes about are so true, so honest, so deeply felt, they resonate with all of us. Her juxtaposition of accessibility, wisdom and technical depth are what make her writing so tremendous. An opportunity for students to interact with a world class writer is nothing short of terrific."

In past years, the Department of English has brought in established writers like Eli Weisel and Vivian Shipley as well as emerging voices like Doug Cox, Michael Garriga, Mickey Hess, and KU alum Dan Donaghy.

KU's English department offers a variety of major and minor programs, including professional writing, literature, education, rhetoric, media studies, paralegal, and Master of Arts. The internship program has enabled students to gain professional experience in research and writing at sites such as Philadelphia Magazine, the Morning Call newspaper, the state capital in Harrisburg, and the United States Army. Students in the department regularly present research at scholarly conferences, including marquis national conferences, and graduates of the program have gone on to pursue doctoral study at elite institutions or are employed as teachers, government leaders, public relations professionals, and journalists at places like Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the Reading Eagle, and Berks County Living magazine.