Pulitzer-Prize finalists and U.S. Poet Laureate coming to F-MFour poets and novelists will be visiting the Fargo-Moorhead area for a symposium honoring North Dakota native Louise Erdrich.
Four poets and novelists will be visiting the Fargo-Moorhead area for a symposium honoring North Dakota native Louise Erdrich.
Titled “Four Souls: Stories from America’s Boarders,” the event will feature keynote presentations by Robert Pinsky, Naomi Shihab Nye, Luis Urrea and Erdrich.
The symposium, beginning today and ending Friday will be held at Bluestem Center for the Arts. The event is a joint effort of Bluestem and the North Dakota Humanities Council.
A New York Times best-selling author, Erdrich grew up in North Dakota, where her parents taught at a school run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As the daughter of a Chippewa Indian mother and a German-American father, Erdrich explores Native-American themes in her works, with major characters representing both sides of her heritage.
Born in Tijuana, Mexico, to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea grew up in San Diego, Calif. Urrea will share his story of transformation from his beginnings on a dirt street in Tijuana to Pulitzer Prize finalist and beloved storyteller.
Nye’s next books include “On the Edge of the Sky,” (1981), a slim volume printed on handmade paper, and “Hugging the Jukebox” (1982), a full-length collection that also won the Voertman Poetry Prize.
Georgia Review contributor Philip Booth declared that Nye brings “home to readers both how variously and how similarly all people live.” In “Red Suitcase” (1994), Nye continues to explore the effect of ongoing violence on everyday life in the Middle East. Writing for Booklist, Pat Monaghan explained that “some of her most powerful poems deal with her native land’s continuing search for peace and the echoes of that search that resound in an individual life. Nye is a fluid poet, and her poems are also full of the urgency of spoken language. Her direct, unadorned vocabulary serves her well: ‘A boy filled a bottle with water. / He let it sit. / Three days later it held the power / of three days.’ Such directness has its own mystery, its own depth and power, which Nye exploits to great effect.”
Award-winning Palestinian-American poet Nye was born in St. Louis in 1952. Just four years earlier, her father and his family lost their home in Jerusalem following the establishment of the state of Israel. As a result of her father’s experiences, she learned the importance of place and of being connected — a theme she will address in her poetry reading and discussion.
Pinsky (U.S. Poet Laureate 1997-2000) grew up in a lower-middle class Jewish family in Long Branch, N.J.
According to Pinsky, a poet needs to “find a language for presenting the role of a conscious soul in an unconscious world.” Pinsky will perform improvisatory poetry with a local jazz combo, “trading fours” with the musicians to create a spontaneous work of art that tells its own story.
According to Sue Wiger, “This is exactly the type of event Bluestem was built for. It will bring the community together to experience the best our nation has to offer in the way of arts and culture.”
Poetry writing workshops for adults and children will also be offered.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.ndhumanities.org or contact Gerhardt at 800-338-6543.