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Readings showcase two celebrated poets

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FREDERICK, Md.—Two celebrated poets will present a reading of their works Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Whitaker Campus Center at Hood College as part of the college’s annual Center for the Humanities colloquium series.

The colloquium, this year themed “The Humanities at Work: How Media Shape Society,” is funded in part by a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant.

Carolyn Forche, Lannan Visiting Professor of Poetry and professor of English at Georgetown University, is the author of four award-winning books of poetry—“Gathering The Tribes,” “The Country Between Us,” “The Angel of History” and “Blue Hour.” Her articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Esquire, Mother Jones and others. Forthcoming books include a memoir, “The Horse on Our Balcony,” a book of essays and a fifth collection of poems, “In the Lateness of the World.”

Her critically acclaimed anthology, “Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness,” brings together a diverse group of poets whose work draws upon their personal experiences with some of the 20th century’s political tragedies, from the Armenian Genocide to the uprising of the pro-democracy uprising at Tiananmen Square.

Forche’s work has been recognized by three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship and other literary and teaching awards. In 1998 she was presented the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation Award for Peace and Culture in Stockholm for her more than 30 years of work on behalf of human rights and the preservation of memory and culture.

Valzhyna Mort is a young Belarusian poet who has been described as “a risen star of the international poetry world.” Her first collection published in the United States, “Factory of Tears,” has been widely praised for the urgency and vitality of its poems. Mort received a Lannan Literary Fellowship in 2009 and lives and teaches in Baltimore.

The final fall colloquium event is a lecture Nov. 15 by Joanna Cannon, a distinguished scholar of late medieval Italian art.

This year’s colloquium explores the myriad ways in which media have informed and influenced culture and society across the centuries. It looks at the invention of writing in Mesopotamia in 3500 B.C. to the social networks that have come to dominate today’s computers and cell phones, media direct individuals’ interactions with the world and influence their understanding of the past. It also explores the theme from a historical perspective and across disciplines—including music, poetry and the visual arts—promotes an understanding of the impact of the current media-saturated environment on personal identities and on collective society.

The Hood College Center for the Humanities was founded in 1990 by a group of faculty members from the humanities departments at Hood—art, English, foreign languages, history and political science, music, philosophy and religion. During its 20-year existence, the Center for the Humanities has presented lectures, symposia, film series, concerts, poetry readings and colloquia. In 1999, Hood was the recipient of a major challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which helps provide for an annual lecture series and an NEH visiting scholar.

The event is co-sponsored with the provost’s office.

For more information, contact Rebecca Prime, Ph.D., Sophia M. Libman NEH Professor of the Humanities, at prime@hood.edu.