March 03, 2008

Poets will open visiting writer series

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The spring lineup for the visiting writer series at Southern Illinois University Carbondale kicks off on Wednesday, March 5, with a pair of poets.

The Department of English welcomes Brian Barker and Nicole Beer for a reading at 4 p.m. in the SIUC Student Center Auditorium, followed by a reception and book signing at 5 p.m. in the Old Main Lounge.

Barker won the Editors' Prize in the Tupelo Press first-book competition with the 2006 publication, "The Animal Gospels." Journals publishing his poetry include, Poetry, River Styx and Pleiades. Barker is a past winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize and has fellowships from Inprint, Inc. and two from the "Americans in Krakow" poetry seminar. Currently, he is an assistant professor of English and the coordinator of the creative writing program at Murray State University.

He is married to Nicole Beer, who is a graduate student teaching assistant at the University of Missouri at Columbia. Beer holds a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, a $20,000 award. She won second place in the University of Arizona's Astrobiology and the Sacred Poetry Contest and she has a poem included in the "2007 Best American Poetry" volume.

Here is an overview of the rest of the spring schedule so far (there may be schedule additions). Note: Readings are at 4 p.m. in the SIUC Student Center Auditorium with receptions and book signings at 5 p.m. in the Old Main Lounge.

March 17: Asali Solomon

Solomon's first book, "Get Down," a collection of stories, which appeared in 2006, was a Debut Fiction nominee for the 2007 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. The National Book Foundation named Solomon one of the "5 Under 35 in 2007" young authors of promise.

March 27: Women's History Month Poetry Reading

This reading features the six winners of the Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest and the contest judge, Sandy Longhorn. Longhorn won the 2005 Anhinga Prize for Poetry with her collection, "Blood Almanac." Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, River Styx, Blackbird and many other journals publish her poetry. She teaches creative writing and composition at Pulaski Technical College in Arkansas.

April 10: Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Reading, Ciaran Berry

SIU Press published Berry's debut collection, "The Sphere of Birds." Berry won a Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award. A native of Ireland, Berry currently teaches in the Expository Writing Program at New York University. His poems appear in AGNI, Green Mountain Review, The Missouri Review and other places.

April 24: Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Reading, Jake Adam York

York also won a Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award this year, and his collection, "A Murmuration of Starlings," is now available from SIU Press. The collection is not about birds – it is about "martyrs in the fight for civil rights." He is an associate professor of English at the University of Colorado Denver, a contributing editor to the journal Shenadoah and poetry editor for storySouth. His poetry is in journals including Blackbird, Greensboro Review, Shenadoah and New Orleans Review. His first book of poems, "Murder Ballads," appeared in 2005. Note that his reading is set for the SIUC Student Center Video Lounge.