Stephen Dunn’s Visit to ECU on 10/21

Pulitzer Prize winning poet Stephen Dunn performed a reading at Greenville Museum of Art on October 21st. If you missed the event, below are pictures from the event provided by Linda Fox. Also provided is English MA student William Eddins’ excellent write up of the event!

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For many poets, winning a Pulitzer Prize is only a fantasy, but for Stephen Dunn it is an achievement. His intelligence and accessible style resonate with many readers who enjoy his witty insight.

Last Friday, Stephen Dunn visited East Carolina Universityfor a seminar and later in the evening read some of his work at the Greenville Museum of Art. The eventswere sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, along with the Great Books program, and the Contemporary Writer Series.

At his seminar in the Bate Building on East Carolina’s campus, Dunn spoke to students and faculty about his experiences and advice he had to offer.

Among the many subjects discussed was the notion of a crossroads in a poem. This crossroads, Dunn states is, “part of finding yourself and finding the poem.” It is the crossroads that creates the necessary turn in the poem and gives it meaning.

Later that evening, Dunn traveled to the Greenville Museum of Art.  Refreshments were served as people socialized near theCommons Gallery, where Dunn would later read some of his recent work.

The event began when Dr. Helena Feder introduced Stephen Dunn, reciting his achievements and discussing what his work means to the literary community.

Pulitzer-prize winning poet Stephen Dunn is the author of sixteen books; his poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic, The Nation, the New Yorker, the American Poetry Review, the New Republic, and many other journals. Since 1974, he has taught at Richard Stockton College of NJ, where he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing.

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William Eddins, English MA Graduate Student

Dunn read many poems that caused the audience to erupt in laughter. One such poem was “Testimony.” In the poem, the narrator wakes in the middle of the night to Jesus holding a tray of cookies. The narrator eats the offered cookies, not because he happened to be craving them, but because that iswhat a good Christian would do when tested.

Stephen Dunn didn’t shy away from current topics like clowns either. His poem,” If a Clown,” made the crowd giggle in their seats as Stephen recited the first line, “If a clown came out of the woods.”The poem asks the reader to consider a “clown without a context,” —applicable to the times.

Some of his other work he read included, “Nothing to Hold Onto,” “Before We Leave,” “If a Poet,” “Letter to the Man I Once Was,” and “For the Player,” among others.

There were many subjects discussed and great lines, but none greater than from his poem, “Nothing to Hold Onto,” that summarized my experience: “uproarious laughter / the password to moments of fine feeling.”

 

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