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The extraordinary in the ordinary to be explored during Fall Arts Celebration poetry night

  • Jane Hirshfield
  • Dan Gerber

Posted on October 18, 2017

One of the wonders of poetry is the potential for the intricacies of ordinary life to be described in extraordinary ways.

Patricia Clark, professor of writing and poet-in-residence, said this is exactly what audiences can expect to hear during this year’s Fall Arts Celebration poetry night at Grand Valley State University with acclaimed authors Jane Hirshfield and Dan Gerber.

“An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Jane Hirshfield and Dan Gerber” will take place October 26, at 7:30 p.m., on the 2nd floor of the Eberhard Center, located on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The reading will be followed by a reception and book signing.

“Jane’s vision is informed by her extensive knowledge of international poetry, so her poems take on an incandescence with the ability to layer steady affirmation with, at times, an underlying humor, and compassion for the sorrows, losses and inconsistencies of life,” said Clark.

Hirshfield has penned many collections of poetry and prose, including The Beauty, Come Thief, The Lives of the Heart, The October Palace and Given Sugar, Given Salt. Her book, After, was shortlisted for England’s T.S. Eliot Prize and named a “best book of 2006” by the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and London Financial Times.

In 2012, Hirshfield was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and in fall 2004, she was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by the academy, which is an honor formerly held by Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and Elizabeth Bishop.

Gerber, a native of Fremont, is the author of a dozen books of poetry, fiction and essays. His most recent books of poems include Particles: New & Selected Poems and Sailing through Cassiopeia. His work has received ForeWord Magazine’s Gold Medal Award, a Mark Twain Award for distinguished contribution to Midwest literature, a Michigan Author Award and a Michigan Notable Book Award. He is also the co-founder of the literary magazine Sumac.

Clark said Gerber’s poems provide a clear vision of the natural world and the “inner life.”

“Dan studies what’s at hand: an old dog, a fox he glimpses on a walk, a starry night, or a cabin in the woods,” she said. “Often, he, like Jane, begins a poem with something near at hand and then uses that object to find a deeper significance, perhaps about the past, family or life.”

For more information about Fall Arts Celebration, visit