One of the most significant parts of my education was the opportunity to attend events where authors read from their work. When I first started college, literature seemed to exist in the past; all of the people I studied about in classes were dead or far away, and my only connection with them was through the text on the page. Then, a friend invited me to a reading one night. She said that he was an important writer, and it sounded very collegiate to go to such a thing. Little did I know that I was going to hear Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel read from his memoir Night. It was a seminal moment in my life. After that, I went to every reading I could, and now, many of the poems and stories that I teach from my literature textbooks are from writers that I have had the opportunity to hear read in person.
Most universities and colleges have visiting writers series, and living here in Eugene students at NCU have many opportunities to go to lectures and readings at the University of Oregon, but I felt that we should have our own reading series, not only for our students, but for people from U of O and Lane Community College and the larger community as well.
So on October 17th at 7:30pm in the NCU Burke-Griffeth Hall Banquet Room, award winning poet Jennifer Richter will kick off the NCU Visiting Writers Series by reading from her work, talking with students, and signing books. She was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship in Poetry by Stanford University, where she taught in the Creative Writing Program for four years. She earned her MFA at Penn State University. Her poetry collection Threshold has been a national bestseller and was named a 2011 Oregon Book Award Finalist by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. Pulitzer Prize-winner and current U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey chose Threshold as winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition. Richter currently lives in Oregon with her husband, the novelist Keith Scribner, and their children, and is Senior Poet at Wood Springs Institute for Creative Writers and Visiting Poet in Oregon State University’s MFA Program.
I am very excited to have Jennifer come and share her work here at NCU. If you have questions, feel free to call me at 541-349-7477. Otherwise, plan on joining us next Wednesday for what I’m sure will be a fantastic event.
James A. Gill
Assistant Professor of English