Acclaimed poets to present readings at Fall Arts Celebration event

Ellen Bass and Kevin Young.
Ellen Bass and Kevin Young.
Image Credit: Courtesy photo

Two acclaimed poets who delve into the wide range of the human condition will share their work through readings during a Fall Arts Celebration event.

"An Evening with Ellen Bass and Kevin Young" will give audiences the chance to fully experience the poetry through hearing the language and imagery, said Patricia Clark, professor of writing and poet-in-residence at Grand Valley.

"Poetry benefits from a live performance, and that’s just what it is," Clark said. "The audience will also get a glimpse of the energy in the current poetry scene and how it plumbs emotional highs and lows — and perhaps we’ll convert a few people into trying their hands at poetry."

The event is October 3 with a 5 p.m. public reception and readings at 6 p.m. at the Eberhard Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Bass is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Her most recent book, "Like a Beggar," was a finalist for a host of awards including the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Lambda Literary Award.

"Bass delves deep into the psychology of family, personal relationships and gender," Clark said. "There is humor and wry acceptance in her poems, and she's a great describer."

Young is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and is poetry editor at The New Yorker. His book, "Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels" won an American Book Award. His newest book of poetry is "Brown."

"Young's work has energy, range and honesty," Clark said. "He writes about family but also about history, music, America's South and popular culture."

All Fall Arts Celebration events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit