Headshots of Hirschfield and Gerber

An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Jane Hirshfield and Dan Gerber

Jane Hirshfield has authored many collections of poetry and prose, including most recently, The Beauty (longlisted for the National Book Award); Come ThiefAfter (shortlisted for England’s T.S. Eliot Prize and named a “best book of 2006” by The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the London Financial Times); Given Sugar, Given Salt (finalist for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award); The Lives of the Heart; and The October Palace.

In fall 2004, Hirshfield was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by The Academy of American Poets, an honor formerly held by such poets as Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Elizabeth Bishop. In 2012, she was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.


Dan Gerber is the author of a dozen books of poetry, fiction, essays, and memory. His most recent book of poems was Sailing through Cassiopeia, and he celebrates the publication of Particles: New & Selected Poems this fall from Copper Canyon Press. His work has received ForeWord Magazine’s Gold Medal Award, a Mark Twain award for distinguished contribution to Midwest literature, a Michigan Author Award plus a Michigan Notable Book Award. He is the co-founder, with the late Jim Harrison, of the literary magazine Sumac, and lives in the Santa Ynez Valley of California.


Thursday, October 26, 2017  7:30 p.m.
2nd floor, L.V. Eberhard Center
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Headshots of de la Paz and Smith

An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Oliver de la Paz and Tracy K. Smith

Oliver de la Paz is the author of four collections of poetry: Names Above Houses (SIU Press 2001); Furious Lullaby (SIU Press 2007); Requiem for the Orchard (University of Akron Press 2010), winner of the Akron Poetry Prize; and Post Subject: A Fable (University of Akron Press 2014). He co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian American poetry and serves on the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Board. He is the music editor for At Length magazine and he teaches in the M.F.A. program at Western Washington University.

Tracy K. Smith is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light (Knopf, 2015) and three books of poetry. Her collection Life on Marston the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. Dundee won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award. The Body's Question was the winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award in 2004 and a Whiting Award in 2005. In 2014 the Academy of American Poets awarded Smith with the Academy Fellowship, awarded to one poet each year to recognize distinguished poetic achievement. She is the Roger S. Berlind 52 Professor in the Humanities, and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.

Thursday, October 13, 2016 7 p.m.
2nd floor, L.V. Eberhard Center
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Kwame Dawes profile photos

An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Kwame Dawes

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of three books of poetry. Lucky Fish (2011), winner of the Hoffer Grand Prize for Prose and Independent Books, At the Drive-In Volcano (2007), and Miracle Fruit (2003), all from Tupelo Press. Lucky Fish won the gold medal in Poetry for the Independent Publishers Book Awards and was featured in the New York Times and on the PBS NewsHour ArtsBeat. New poems appear in Tin House, Poetry, American Poetry Review, and Ploughshares. Her most recent chapbook is Lace & Pyrite, a collaboration of nature poems with the poet Ross Gay. She is professor of English at the State University of New York in Fredonia, where she teaches creative writing and environmental literature.

Kwame Dawes Born in Ghana in 1962, Kwame Dawes spent most of his childhood and early adult life in Jamaica. He is a writer of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and plays. As a poet, he is profoundly influenced by the rhythms and textures of Ghana, citing in an interview his spiritual, intellectual, and emotional engagement with reggae music. Indeed, his book Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius remains the most authoritative study of the lyrics of Bob Marley. Of his sixteen collections of poetry, his most recent title is Duppy Conqueror (Copper Canyon, 2013), shortlisted for the PEN Open Book Award. Dawes is currently the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska, where he is a Chancellors Professor of English, a faculty member of Cave Canem, and a teacher in the Pacific MFA Program in Oregon.

Thursday, October 15, 2015 7 p.m.
2nd floor, L.V. Eberhard Center
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Dorianne Laux profile photo
Mark Doty profile photo

An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Dorianne Laux and Mark Doty

Mark Doty and Dorianne Laux write poems that are situated in a variety of settings, from California to Provincetown, Massachusetts, and portraits of people from a variety of walks of life. Mark Doty can spin out a meditative poem from looking at a crab's shell he has seen on a beach, and Dorianne Laux writes about varieties of love in The Book of Men. Laux worked in a variety of jobs: sanitarium cook, maid, and gas station manager before graduating from Mills College with a degree in English and finding her way to poetry. Doty's roots are in Tennessee; he went to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and then on to Goddard College for his MFA.

Laux's most recent book The Book of Men is "Something of a baby boomer's field guide, this book portrays the legacy of the 1960s from the perspective of one who has survived and must look back on what that decade did and didn't change. And so, the Vietnam War, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Cher, Frank O'Hara, and Superman all make appearances. Laux's treatment of this era isn't without sentimentality, but her true aim is more probing, more elegiac."

Dorianne Laux is the author of five books of poetry, most recently, The Book of Men. Her fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon, was the recipient of the Oregon Book Award and was short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Widely anthologized, her work has appeared in the Best of APR, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and The Best of the Net. Laux teaches poetry in the MFA program at North Carolina State University.

The author of eight books of poetry, Mark Doty is the only American poet to have won Great Britain's T. S. Eliot Prize. His first collection, Turtle, Swan, appeared in 1987. My Alexandria (1993) received both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Since then he has published Atlantis (1995); Sweet Machine (1998); Source (2001); and the critically acclaimed volume of poems, School of the Arts (HarperCollins, 2005). Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems was published in 2008. His next book of poetry, Deep Lane, is forthcoming.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 7 p.m.
2nd floor, L.V. Eberhard Center
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Li-Young Lee profile photo
Pattiann Rogers profile photo

Poetry Night 2013: An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Li-Young Lee and Pattiann Rogers

Friday, October 25, 7 p.m.
L.V. Eberhard Center, 2nd floor
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Reading followed by book signing and reception

Li-Young Lee is the author of four critically acclaimed books of poetry, his most recent being Behind My Eyes (W.W. Norton, 2008) and a memoir, The Winged Seed: A Remembrance(Simon and Schuster, 1995), which received an American Book Award.

Lee's honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as several grants. He is also featured in Katja Esson's documentary, "Poetry of Resilience."

Born in 1957 of Chinese parents in Jakarta, Indonesia, Lee learned early about loss and exile. His great grandfather was China's first Republican president; and his father, a deeply religious Christian, was physician to Communist leader Mao Tse-Tung. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Lee's parents escaped, and after a five-year trek through Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, they settled in the United States in 1964.

Lee's poetry reveals a dialogue between the eternal and the temporal, and accentuates the joys and sorrows of family, home, loss, exile, and love. He lives in Chicago with his wife Donna and their two sons.


Pattiann Rogers has published thirteen books, most recently The Grand ArrayWritings on Nature, Science, and Spirit (Trinity University Press, 2010) and Wayfare (Penguin, 2008). Her newest book of poems, Holy Heathen Rhapsody, has just been published by Penguin in September 2013. She has also published a book-length essay, The Dream of the Marsh Wren, and A Covenant of Seasons, poems and monotypes, in collaboration with the artist Joellyn Duesberry.

Rogers is the recipient of two NEA Grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Literary Award in Poetry from the Lannan Foundation. Among other awards, her poems have received five Pushcart Prizes, two appearances in Best American Poetry, five appearances in Best Spiritual WritingSong of the World Becoming, Poems, New and Collected, 1981-2001 (Milkweed Editions) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and an Editor's Choice in Booklist. Firekeeper, Selected Poems was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Award and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1994. In 2000, Rogers was a resident at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy.

Pattiann Rogers has taught as a visiting writer at several universities, including Arkansas, Montana, Texas, Washington University and Pacific University. She is the mother of two sons and has three grandsons. She lives with her husband, a retired geophysicist, in Colorado.

According to The Georgia Review, Rogers's poems "have startling breadth, often engaging scientific, theological, and artistic modes of perception simultaneously without ever losing a central focus or a syntactical sense of direction."

And from Orion, "Through Rogers's curiosity, wit, boundless love of the world, and remarkable dexterity as a poet, we are altered."

Fall 2012: "An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Nikky Finney and B.H. Fairchild" Fall 2012: "An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Nikky Finney and B.H. Fairchild"

Nikky Finney is the author of four books of poetry, and her most recent, Head Off &Split is the winner of the National Book Award for Poetry. Previous volumes include The World is Round, Rice, and On Wings Made of Gauze. She is Professor of English and creative writing at the University of Kentucky.

B.H. Fairchild is the author of Usher (his sixth book of poetry), and Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. He has been the recipient of fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Lannan Foundation and is the author of Such Holy Song, a scholarly study of William Blake. In 2001 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Arthur Rense Poetry Prize for "consistent excellence over a long career."

Friday, October 19, 2012 7 p.m.
2nd floor, L.V. Eberhard Center
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Reading followed by reception

Poetry Night 2011 - "An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Ted Kooser and Terrance Hayes."

Poetry Night 2011 is scheduled for Friday night, October 21, 2011 at the Eberhard Center's 2nd floor. Free and open to the public. Book signing and reception will follow the event.

Highly regarded Nebraskan poet Ted Kooser was United States Poet Laureate for two terms (2004-2006) and was the first poet from the Great Plains to hold the position. A professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln he is the author of eleven full-length collections of poetry, including Weather Central (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994) and Delights and Shadows, which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. Kooser's writing is known for its clarity, precision, and accessibility and his poems are included in textbooks and anthologies used in both secondary schools and college classrooms across the country. In addition to poetry, Kooser has written in a variety of forms including plays, fiction, personal essays, literary criticism, and children's books.

"There is a sense of quiet amazement at the core of all Kooser's work." —Ed Hirsch

One of the most compelling voices in American poetry, Terrance Hayes is the author of four books of poetry; Lighthead (2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award in PoetryWind in a Box, winner of a Pushcart Prize; Hip Logic, winner of the National Poetry Series, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Muscular Music, winner of both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.

"First you'll marvel at his skill, his near-perfect pitch, his disarming humor, his brilliant turns of phrase. Then you'll notice the grace, the tenderness, the unblinking truth-telling just beneath his lines, the open and generous way he takes in our world." —Cornelius Eady

Poetry Night 2010 - "An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Bob Hicok and Carolyn Forché"

Poetry Night is a celebration of the power of language to enlighten and entertain us—reaching this year from Great Britain to the Great Lakes.

GVSU Poetry Night revised

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – [Due to unforeseen circumstances Great Britain Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will be unable, as previously scheduled, to join poet Bob Hicok for Poetry Night at Grand Valley State University.]

The very popular Fall Arts Celebration event will feature for GVSU's Fiftieth Anniversary two home-grown Michigan writers who have gone on to achieve national, if not international acclaim. "An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Carolyn Forché and Bob Hicok," is planned for Thursday, October 21, at 7 p.m., on the second floor of L.V. Eberhard Center, 301 West Fulton, on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Forché was born in Detroit in 1950, studied at Michigan State University and received an MFA from Bowling Green State University. She is currently the Lannan Visiting Professor of Poetry and Professor of English at Georgetown University.

Forché is the author of four books of poetry. Her first, Gathering The Tribes, received the Yale Younger Poets Award. The Country Between Us, was chosen as the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets, The Angel of History, won the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and Blue Hour, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Known as a "poet of witness," Forché traveled to Spain in 1977 to translate the work of Salvadoran-exiled poet Claribel Alegria, and received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship when she returned. She has received three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and other literary and teaching awards.

The evening will also include Bob Hicok, a Michigan native who attended Grand Valley in the early 1980s as a student in William James College. Hicok said he remembers those years as a time "when I had hair," but also an exciting time at what was then Grand Valley State Colleges. "I was given a great deal of freedom, and access to professors was extensive. I remember Robert Burns, Roz and Robert Mayberry, Stephen Rowe, all of them fondly, all of them as people who loved ideas and discussing them," he said.

Hicok later received an MFA from Vermont College. He has taught creative writing at Western Michigan University and is now an associate professor in the creative writing program Virginia Tech University. He had worked for nearly two decades as an automotive die designer and eventually owned his own business. His poetry skill was once described in the New York Times Book Review as being somewhere between those of the surgeon and the gods of the foundry and convalescent homes.

Poetry Night 2009

Tony Hoagland

Tony Hoagland, dubbed one of the smarter and funnier poets of his generation, is the author of three volumes of poetry: Sweet Ruin, winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry; Donkey Gospel, winner of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets; and What Narcissism Means to Me, as well as a collection of essays about poetry, Real Sofistakashun . The winner of the 2005 O.B. Hardison Jr. Prize and recipient of the 2005 Mark Twain Award, Hoagland currently teaches in the poetry program at the University of Houston.

Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith is a lively, vibrant poet who frequently performs with musicians, dancers, and filmmakers. She is the author of five acclaimed poetry volumes including Blood Dazzler and Teahouse of the Almighty, which was a National Poetry Series selection and winner of the first-ever Hurston/Wright Award in Poetry. Smith was inducted into the National Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent in 2006. A four-time individual champion on the National Poetry Slam, she has been the featured poet on HBO's "Def Poetry Jam."

Thursday, October 1, 7 p.m.
L.V. Eberhard Center, 301 W. Fulton
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus 

Followed by reception and book signing

Event is free and open to the public.
Recent visitors to campus include: Paul Muldoon, Natasha Trethewey, Gary Snyder, Stanley Plumly, Sonia Sanchez, Sharon Olds, C.K. Williams, Philip Levine, Charles Wright, Rita Dove, Rosellen Brown, Billy Collins, Jim Harrison, Robert Hass, Charles Johnson, Galway Kinnell, and Naomi Shihab Nye.

For more information on Poetry Night, please contact Dr. Patricia Clark, poet-in-residence,
Writing Department, email: [email protected]; or visit www.gvsu.edu/fallarts

Poetry Night 2008

"an evening of poetry & conversation"

Wednesday, October 29, 7 p.m. at Eberhard Center, 2nd floor -- Free &no tickets needed

Seventh Annual Poetry Night!

Come hear two Pulitzer Prize winning poets who will share their words and their vision—both using the lens of history to inform some of their work.

Featuring:Irish native Paul Muldoon (Howard G.B. Clark '21 Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University) author of Moy Sand and Gravel (winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in poetry) and most recent book Horse Latitudes. The Times Literary Supplement has called Muldoon "the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War."

Natasha Trethewey (Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University) author of Domestic Work and Native Guard (winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in poetry). Her work "explores the complex memory of the American South."

Poetry Night 2007

Fall Arts Celebration, 2007 Poetry Night

Sponsored by a gift from Liesel and Hank Meijer

Gary Snyder, Pulitzer prize-winning poet and world-renowned writer, is the author of nineteen books of poetry and prose including Mountains and Rivers Without End, an epic, book-length poem of geology, prehistory, and mythology.

Stanley Plumly is an award-winning poet and author. His most recent work includes Old Heart: Poems and Argument &Song: Sources &Silences in Poetry, a collection of Plumly's essays on poetry and nature.

Friday, October 19, 7 p.m.
L.V. Eberhard Center, 2nd floor
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Reading followed by reception and book signing

Event is free and open to the public. For more information call (616) 331-2180.

The Grand Valley Writers Series also sponsors a number of literary events throughout the year.

Page last modified November 9, 2018