March 15, 2010

Women faculty, students to present readings

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Women writers in the creative writing program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale present readings from their own and favorite authors’ works as part of Women’s History Month events.

Allison Joseph, director of the creative writing master’s program in the English department at SIUC and editor of the Crab Orchard Review, and Allison Funk, a professor in the English department at SIU Edwardsville and co-editor of the Sou’wester journal, present a poetry reading beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 18. This reading is in the Mississippi Room in the Student Center.

Joseph has six books of poetry, including her most recent, “My Father’s Kites,” released this year by Steel Toe Books. Joseph is the inaugural recipient of the Aquarius Press Legacy Award. Part of that award, presented in 2009, includes an issue of “Reverie: Midwest African American Literature” dedicated to her work. Joseph’s other awards and honors include the Associated Writing Programs Prize, Academy of American Poets Prize and the John C. Zacharis First Book Award. She has earned fellowships and awards from the Illinois Arts Council, Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, and Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

Funk’s most recent book, “The Tumbling Box,” released in 2009 by C and R Press, is her fourth. Funk is a former recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She has also received awards including the Samuel French Morse Prize, the Society of Midland Authors Award and an award from the Poetry Society of America. She received residencies at such writing conferences as Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, the Hawthornden Castle International Writers Retreat in Scotland and the Dora Maar House in France.

Other events for the month are:

March 26, Women’s Words: A Literary Reading, 4 p.m. in the Mississippi Room, Student Center. This reading features women students and faculty from the SIUC master of fine arts program. They will read their own work and selections from some of their favorite women authors.

March 29, Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest Ceremony, 4 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium. The Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest is an annual event honoring a creative writing student who died while pursuing her master’s degree at SIUC. The contest is open to all students currently enrolled at SIUC, regardless of major.

The ceremony includes readings from the winners in the undergraduate and graduate categories, as well as from this year’s guest judge, Lee Ann Roripaugh. Roripaugh’s third book of poetry, “On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year,” is available from SIU Press. SIU Press also published Roripaugh’s second book, “Year of the Snake,” which netted the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award in 2004. Her first book, “Beyond Heart Mountain,” was a finalist in the 2000 Asian American Literary Awards. Roripaugh is associate professor of creative writing and 20th century American poetry at the University of South Dakota.

All events are free and open to the public. To keep up with SIUC creative writing programs, events and successes, follow Joseph’s blog at