Donika Kelly, an award-winning poet from California, will share her works and wisdom on March 15. Kelly is currently a lecturer in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program at University of California.
For the last 40 years, the English and World Languages Department has brought in authors to give public readings, to hold workshops and to answer questions about their life and their works.
“It’s primarily for creative writing students to have first-hand experience with published authors,” Emily Hoffman, assistant professor of English, said. “It gives students a chance to interact and ask questions.”
The first event is a poetry workshop from 4-5 p.m. in Witherspoon Room 166. Kelly said she will be holding the workshop to help inspiring authors improve their writing by taking a “look at how contemporary poets use closed forms to harness feeling.” She will being taking poets works and show how they express feelings.
The second event is a poetry reading from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in Witherspoon Room 126. Kelly will not say which poems she will read but said “audiences can expect a reading that flowers at the intersection of myth, trauma, and geography.”
Micah Hicks, assistant professor of English and coordinator of this year’s events, said they wanted to give the ATU and Russellville community a chance to “have someone whose done all the stuff they want to do standing in front of them who can answer their questions.”
Hoffman said Kelly was chosen because she is “successful in her field” and she has a local connection to Arkansas. Hicks said he chose her because of his connection with her at Southern Arkansas College and because she is a recent poetry award winner.
In the fall of 2016 Kelly will have her collection “Bestiary” published by Greywolf Press. This collection received the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, one of the top poetry prizes in the United States.
Kelly holds an MFA in writing from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in English from Vanderbilt.
The workshop and poetry reading are free and open to the public. Both events will have a Question&Answer at the end of each.
For more information about the events, contact the English and World Languages Department at 479-968-0256.