Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Prize-winning poet begins Visiting Writer series on Wednesday

Just last week, Patricia Smith won the award for writing the best poetry book published in 2012. This week, Smith will be reading some of that prize-winning poetry at Randolph College.

Smith will open Randolph’s 2013-2014 Visiting Writer Series with a public reading at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Jack Lounge in Smith Memorial Hall.

“Patricia Smith is a force of nature, as a writer, as a teacher, as a performer,” said Laura-Gray Street, an English professor and the director of the Visiting Writer Series. “Her mojo is artistic precision and profundity with a Motown jive, making her the perfect opener for the fall Visiting Writers Series.”

Smith is the author of six books of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, which won the Lenore Marshall Prize last week. She is the most successful poet in the history of the National Poetry Slam, winning that poetry performance contest four times.

The Randolph College English department also will take some time Wednesday to celebrate the College’s partnership with the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum. Shaun Spencer-Hester, the granddaughter of Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer and president of the museum, will attend the event.

“Spencer’s poetry and presence left a vital legacy both in Lynchburg and in national history,” Street said. “Bringing together these two energies—Patricia Smith and Anne Spencer—for Wednesday’s reading and celebration will be powerful.”

The Visiting Writer Series brings authors to campus throughout the year to talk about their craft with students and give public readings. All visiting writer readings are free and open to the public.