November 13, 2009
Visiting Writers Series reaches halfway point with reading by poet Fleda Brown
The reading, held at 7:30 p.m. in Isaacs Auditorium, was the third of six scheduled in the series.
Brown had lunch with creative writing students and faculty members Monday afternoon. There was also a question-and-answer session in the Seibert Faculty Lounge directly before the reading.
Sophomore Joseph Sherlock said that at the lunch, Brown encouraged him to overcome his writing struggles by working through them until he could find a new voice or perspective.
According to Gary Fincke, director of the Writers' Institute, "Students were drawn to [Brown's] poems, not only because of their specific narrative threads but because Fleda engaged the audience by personalizing each poem with a storyteller's flair for introduction," he said.
Born in Missouri and raised in Arkansas, Brown earned her doctoral degree in philosophy in English with a specialty in American literature from the University of Arkansas.
Brown became an English department faculty member at the University of Delaware in 1978 and subsequently founded the Poets in the Schools Program--an initiative by the National Council of Teachers of English to increase students' awareness of and exposure to poetry--which she directed for more than 12 years.
Also at the University of Delaware, Brown was the poet laureate from 2001 to 2007.
In 2007, Brown retired from the university and moved to Traverse City, Mich.
She currently writes a monthly column on poetry for the Record-Eagle newspaper and has a monthly commentary on poetry on Interlochen Public Radio. She also continues to teach in the Rainier Writing Workshop, a low-residency master's program at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.
Brown is the author of numerous works of poetry, including "Reunion" in 2007, which won that year's Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry.
Other works by Brown include "The Women Who Loved Elvis All Their Lives" in 2004,"Breathing In Breathing Out" in 2002 and "Fishing with Blood" in 1988.
Brown is also the editor of two anthologies, "On the Mason-Dixon Line: An Anthology of Contemporary Delaware Writers" from 2008, which was co-edited with Billie Travalini, and "Critical Essays on D.H. Lawrence" from 1988, which was co-edited with Dennis Jackson.
Sydney Lea, author of "Ghost Pain," commented on Brown's award-winning work, "Reunion."
"From rigorously formalist to prose-poetic," Lea said, "these poems, with their invariably eloquent details, are lessons in sharp observation and what it is to be a woman with a grand heart, a penetrating mind and, not least, a keen wit."
Brown has earned numerous awards for her work, including a 2009 Pushcart Prize for her poem "The Kayak and the Eiffel Tower" in The Southern Review.
Her book of memoir essays, "Driving With Dvorak," will be published in spring 2010 by the University of Nebraska Press.
In addition, Brown and sculptor William Allen will have an exhibition, "A Conversation Between Artists in Two Forms," at the Dennos Museum in Traverse City, set to open on April 11, 2010.
The next Visiting Writer will be Charles D'Ambrosio, author of "The Point" and "The Dead Fish Museum," on Feb. 15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Degenstein Theater as part of the annual Undergraduate Literature and Creative Writing Conference held at Susquehanna.
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