Arkansas Festival of Writers
It’s a well-known fact, that the University of Arkansas’s creative writing program is one of the top in the nation. Although famous writers often quietly slip in and out of town to visit campus, this week the UA is inviting the public to its Arkansas Festival of Writers, a free event this Tuesday and Wednesday. This event will be a good warm up for the Arkansas Literary Festival later this month in Little Rock.
Reading for the Arkansas Festival of Writers on the UA campus are poet Elizabeth Hadaway and novelist Peter Orner who will read at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Giffels Auditorium in Old Main and Pulitzer Prize winning poet W.S. Merwin who will read at 8 p.m. at the Reynolds Center Auditorium.
Merwin, who is also a translator, environmental activist, pacifist and anti-imperialist, began collecting prizes for his work when his first book, A Mask for Janus, was selected in 1952 for the Yale Younger Poets series. His book of poems The Carrier of Ladders was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1970. Over the years, his poetic style has moved from the more formal and medieval to a more distinctly American voice following his two years in Boston where he got to know Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Adrienne Rich and Donald Hall, all of whom were breaking out of the rhetoric of the 1950s. His latest poems are densely imagistic and full of an intimate awareness of the natural world. Merwin has also published a book of prose entitled The Mays of Ventadorn, as part of the National Geographic Directions series.
In 1999, Merwin was named Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress for a jointly-held position with poets Rita Dove and Louise Glück.
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Merwin also holds the Tanning Prize, the Bollingen Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. In 2004 he received the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award and the following year was honored as laureate of the Struga Poetry Evenings Festival in Macedonia, receiving the international poetry award, the Golden Wreath Award. His book Migration: Selected Poems 1951 – 2001 was selected as one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year. Migration won the 2005 National Book Award for Poetry, and was named winner of the 2006 Ambassador Book Award for Poetry. Merwin lives, writes and gardens on the island of Maui.
Peter Orner’s first book, Esther Stories, was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2001. The book was awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction and was a finalist for the Pen Hemingway Award. His book The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo was published last year by Little, Brown and won the Bard Fiction Prize. The book was a San Francisco Chronicle Best-Seller and is being translated into French, Italian, and German. The novel is set in Namibia where Orner lived and worked in the early 1990’s. Orner has also been awarded a Pushcart Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is on leave from San Francisco State University and is a writer-in-residence at Bard College.
Elizabeth Hadaway’s first book of poetry, Fire Baton, was published by the University of Arkansas Press last year. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Shenandoah, and Diagram. She won a Wallace Stegner Poetry Fellowship to Stanford and has taught at West Virginia University-Parkersburg, Virginia and Commonwealth University. She lives near Baltimore, Maryland.
In the past ten years, Steve Kimock has played 41 shows in Fayetteville, which gives our fair town, the distinction of calling it Kimock’s second home. Kimock will be “coming home” to us this Friday and Saturday night for shows at George’s. Joining him onstage will be the likes of Earl Cate, Steve Pryor and Mountain of Venus. The Sugar Free Allstars will open for the Friday night show. The first sets both nights Kimock will join Mountain of Venus to play MOV songs. The second sets will feature Kimock and special guests which will also include Reed Mathis of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Kimock just finished a tour with The Rhythm Devils (Phish bassist Mike Gordon and Grateful Dead drummers Mickey Hart and Billy Krueztmann). Tickets are $15 advance at George’s, Sound Warehouse or online at www.kimock.com. Get them now. These shows will sellout.
The big event for local musicians and their fans will take place next Thursday night at the Dickson Theater—the 12th annual Northwest Arkansas Music Awards. The event is fashioned after the Grammy awards and honors musicians here in the Northwest Arkansas region. Winners in 16 categories will be announced at the event in addition to a Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented to Fred Tackett of Little Feat and a Hall of Fame award presented to rock band Hunkr Down. There will be musical performances by Charliehorse, Darlene, David’s Pegasus, Early Morning Bourbon Girls, The OneUps and The 3 Twos. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. The event is also a benefit for the Fayetteville based Northwest Arkansas Free Health and Dental Clinic.