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Acclaimed Poet to Read at OCU

by Rod Jones

Nationally acclaimed poet Marie Howe will be the featured guest at the 18th annual Thatcher Hoffman Smith Poetry Series at Oklahoma City University April 6.

Howe will lead a workshop at 10 a.m. and will read her work at 8 p.m. An open-mic poetry reading will be held at 6:15 p.m. All events are free to the public and will be in the Kerr McGee Auditorium in the Meinders School of Business at N.W. 2th Street and McKinley Avenue.

Howe was born in Rochester, N.Y. She worked as a newspaper reporter and teacher before receiving her MFA from Columbia University in 1983.

Howe served as the poet laureate of New York from 2012 to 2014. In her final days as poet laureate, she co-organized the Say Something NYC Poetry Rally: Justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown—A Call for Unity, Equality, Empathy, Imagination and the End of Oppression. The rally was held in Washington Square Park.

Her most recent book, “The Kingdom of Ordinary Time” (W. W. Norton, 2009) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Her first book of poems, “The Good Thief,” was selected as the 1989 winner of the National Poetry Series. The book explored the themes of relationship, attachment and loss in a uniquely personal search for transcendence.

Her other collection of poetry, titled “What the Living Do” (1998), serves as an elegy for her brother, who died of AIDS in 1989. In 1995, she co-edited the anthology “In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic.”

Howe often views poetry as prayer. “From our earliest time on earth prayer has been uttered as poetry,” she said. “Humans have cried out to the unseen in faith and in doubt, in loneliness and joy, in bewilderment and in confidence. Through poetry, we shape our cry into something essential and we sing it into space.”

The poet Stanley Kunitz called her poetry “luminous, intense and eloquent, rooted in an abundant inner life.” He selected her for a Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets in 1988.

Her other awards include grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Bunting Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has taught at Tufts University and Dartmouth College, among others. Currently she teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, New York University and Columbia University.

For more information about the events at OCU visit okcufilmlit.org, call 405-208-5472 or email [email protected].

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