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Academy of American Poets chancellor headlines spring poetry series

An award-winning and prolific writer is the featured guest for this year’s spring poetry series April 3 at Oklahoma City University.

The Thatcher Hoffman Smith Poetry series with Kimiko Hahn is free to the public and will include readings at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. in the Kerr McGee Auditorium, along with an open-mic reading for community poets at 6 p.m. The auditorium is within the Meinders School of Business at NW 26th Street and McKinley Avenue.

Hahn is author of 10 collections of poetry, including “The Ghost Forest: New & Selected Poems” coming this fall. The collection plays with given forms while creating new ones, and, in doing so, honors past writers. The April 3 reading will feature sneak previews of poems from the new collection.

Hahn’s most recent collection, “Foreign Bodies,” revisits the personal as political while exploring the immigrant body, the endangered animal’s body, objects removed from children’s bodies, and hoarded things. 

“Whenever I read Hahn’s poems, I’m reminded to look at the world more carefully,” said Tracy Floreani, OCU English professor and series director. “She finds amazement in everything, from seemingly small household objects to the scientific mysteries of the human brain and body.”

In 2023, Hahn was named a chancellor for the Academy of American Poets and received The Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award. Additional honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, PEN/Voelcker Award, Shelley Memorial Prize and an American Book Award. 

Funding for the OCU event was made possible by the Thatcher Hoffman Smith endowment. For more information visit okcu.edu.

More about Hahn:

Hahn is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Literary Translation at Queens College, The City University of New York. Her books “Toxic Flora” and “Brain Fever” were prompted by fields of science; “The Narrow Road to the Interior” takes title and forms from Japanese haiku master Matsuo Basho’s famous journals. Reflecting her interest in Japanese poetics, Hahn’s essay on the “zuihitsu” style of writing was published in the American Poetry Review.

She enjoys promoting chapbooks, which are traditionally small paper-covered pamphlets of poetry and prose. She created a chapbook archive at the Queens College Library.

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