Contemporary Writers Series  


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2001 - 2002 Featured Writers

Clarence Major Monday, Sept. 10, 2001; Lunch talk: Tuesday, Sept. 11
Robert Dana Monday, Oct. 8, 2001; Lunch talk: Monday, Oct. 8
Judith Ortiz Cofer Thursday, Feb. 28, 2002; Lunch talk: Friday, March 1
Maxine Kumin Tuesday, April 16, 2002; Lunch talk: Wednesday, April 17
Note: All lectures are at 7:30 p.m. in the Wege Ballroom. All lunch talks are 12:30 p.m. in the Woodhouse Library.
Clarence Major - Sept. 10, 2001
Clarence Major


Works by Clarence Major:
Necessary Distance (2001); Configurations: New & Selected Poems 1958-1998 (1998); The Garden Thieves: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry (1996); Calling the Wind: Twentieth Century African-American Short Stories (1993); Fun and Games: Short Fictions (1990); The Dark and Feeling: Black American Writers and Their Work (1974)

Clarence Major began teaching at UC Davis after holding positions at Temple University, SUNY - Binghamton, University of Colorado, University of Washington, Howard University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Brooklyn College. He is a versatile man of letters who writes poetry and fiction as well as non-fiction. He was recently nominated for the 1999 National Book Award in poetry for Configurations: New & Selected Poems 1958-1998 (Copper Canyon Press, 1999). His other recent books include Afterthoughts: Essays and Criticism (1998), and All-Night Visitors (1998).

Major reviews for The Washington Post Book World and has contributed to The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times Book World, American Vision, Essence, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, The American Review, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, The American Poetry Review, and more than a hundred other periodicals and anthologies in this country, Europe, South America, and Africa. In 1991 he served as fiction judge for The National Book Awards. He has served twice on National Endowment for the Arts panels, and in 1997-98 he served as judge for the Pen/Faulkner Awards. He has traveled extensively and lived in various parts of the United States and for extended periods in France and Italy. Clarence Major currently lives in northern California. (Source: UC Davis web page)
Robert Dana - Oct. 8, 2001
Robert Dana Works by Robert Dana:
Summer (2000); Hello Stranger: Beach Poems (1996); What I Think I Know: New & Selected Poems (1991); In a Fugitive Season: A Sequence of Poems (1980)

Robert Dana was born in Boston in 1929, and has lived in Iowa for many years. He recently retired as Poet-in-Residence at Cornell College. The author of ten books of poetry (including Hello, Stranger: Beach Poems, Anhinga Press, 1996), he has served as distinguished visiting poet at five universities and was awarded National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellowships in poetry in 1985 and 1993. Mr. Dana's work won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award for poetry in 1989.
Judith Ortiz Cofer - Feb. 28, 2002
Judith Ortiz Cofer Works by Judith Ortiz Cofer:
Woman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming a Writer (2000); The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry (1995); An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio (1995); The Line of the Sun (1991)
Award-winning author Judith Ortiz Cofer grew up in two different worlds - she was born in Puerto Rico but moved to New Jersey as a young child. Her works often explore the tensions that can arise in reconciling two different cultures. Her novel In the Line of the Sun was praised in the New York Times Book Review for the "vigorous elegance" of its language. The author's collection of essays and poems, Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood, has received numerous awards and honors. Ms. Ortiz Cofer has also written two books of poetry, a second collection of prose and poetry, and a collection of short stories, An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio. She is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia.
Maxine Kumin - April 16, 2002
Maxine Kumin Works by Maxine Kumin:
The Long Marriage: Poems (2001); Always Beginning: Essays on a Life in Poetry (2000); Connecting the Dots: Poems (1998); Selected Poems, 1960-1990 (1997)
Maxine Kumin was born in Philadelphia in 1925. She has published eleven books of poetry, including Up Country: Poems of New England (1972), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize. She is also the author of a memoir, Inside the Halo and Beyond: The Anatomy of a Recovery (2000); four novels; a collection of short stories; more than twenty children's books; and four books of essays, most recently Always Beginning: Essays on a Life in Poetry (2000).

She has received the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern Poetry, an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Sarah Joseph Hale Award, the Levinson Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize from Poetry, and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets, and the National Council on the Arts. She has served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, and is a former Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. She lives in New Hampshire.