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Poet David Wojahn reads here on Oct. 10

Acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist David Wojahn will read from new and selected works on Oct. 10, 7 p.m. in Blow Hall, Room 201.

This second event of the 2012 Patrick Hayes Writers Series is free and open to the public.

Wojahn, who teaches poetry at Virginia Commonwealth University and in the MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for “Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982-2004.” He is the author of seven books of poetry and of “Strange Good Fortune,” a collection of essays.

Wojahn’s poetry usually addresses political and social issues in American life. He often takes as his subjects moments of significance in popular culture, such as the assassination of Beatle icon John Lennon, the professional decline of Jim Morrison of the Doors of the drowning of Brian Jones, original leader of the Rolling Stones.

Born in St. Paul, Minn., and educated at the University of Minnesota and the University of Arizona, his first collection, “Icehouse Lights,” was chosen by Richard Hugo as a winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize and the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams book award.  His career as a poet, essayist, editor and teacher has been widely lauded, earning him fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass., and the Virginia, Illinois and Indiana Councils for the Arts. In 1987-88, he was the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholar.

His second collection, “Glassworks,” published in 1987, was awarded the Society of Midland Authors’ Award for best volume of poetry published during that year.  Subsequent books include “Mystery Train” (1990), “Late Empire” (1994), “The Falling Hour” (1997) and “Spirit Cabinet” (2002), all published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Wojahn’s newest collection, “World Tree” (2011) was enthusiastically described by one reader as “in many respects, David Wojahn’s most ambitious collection to date; especially notable is a 25-poem sequence of ekphrastic poems, ‘Ochre,’ which is accompanied by a haunting series of drawings and photographs of Neolithic Art and anonymous turn of the last century snapshots.”

Another reader added: “Wojahn is, in my estimation, what a poet should be: fundamentally human, well educated, engaged with the world he lives in, and absolutely courageous in offering his fortes and foibles to the reader for consideration. If you're looking for an honest poet whose doesn't buy into the modern cant that a poet must beat the reader over the head with their superior intellect in a hailstorm of verbal and syntactical obscurity while jealously avoiding any clues to their personal identity, Wojahn is your man.”

The Patrick Hayes Writers Series is made possible by a generous bequest from the late Patrick Hayes, longtime friend of the College.

For further information, contact Professor Nancy Schoenberger.