Contemporary Writers Series  


  • Follow us online! Facebook Twitter

2014 - 2015 Featured Writers

Gregory Orr

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

John D’Agata

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Peter Ho Davies

Wednesday, March 18,  2015

Sarah Kay

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Note: Unless otherwise noted, all readings are at 7:30 p.m. and in the Wege Ballroom.


Gregory Orr - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gregory Orr

Considered by many to be a master of short, lyric free verse, Gregory Orr is the author of ten collections of poetry. His most recent volumes include: The River Inside the River, published in 2013 by W.W. Norton; How Beautiful The Beloved, published in 2009, and Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved, published in 2005, both by Copper Canyon Press.


Orr has received many awards and fellowships, including an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, and a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Institute for the Study of Culture and Violence. >More About Gregory

John D’Agata - Thursday, October 30, 2014

John D'Agata

John D'Agata is the author of The Lifespan of a Fact (2012), About a Mountain (2011), and Halls of Fame (2013), and the editor of the anthologies The Next American Essay (2003), and The Lost Origins of the Essay (2009).

He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Howard Foundation, and the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and is currently working on a translation of a book by the ancient Greek writer Plutarch, as well as a new collection of his own essays.  He teaches courses at the University of Iowa on the history of the essay, experiments in essaying, and a variety of workshops. 

Peter Ho Davies - Wednesday, March 18,  2015

Peter Ho Davies

Peter Ho Davies is the author of The Welsh Girl (2007) and the story collections; The Ugliest House in the World (1997) and Equal Love (2000).  His work has appeared in Harpers, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, the Guardian, Independent, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune, among others 


Davies was born in Britain in 1966 to Welsh and Chinese parents.  Davies has taught at the University of Oregon and Emory University and is now on the faculty of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Sarah Kay - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sarah Kay

Co-sponsored with the Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center.


Plenty of 14-year-old girls write poetry. But few hide under the bar of the famous Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan's East Village absorbing the talents of New York's most exciting poets. Sarah Kay also had the guts to take its stage and hold her own against performers at least a decade her senior. Her talent for weaving words into poignant, funny, and powerful performances haunts the heart. She was a featured poet on HBO's "Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry Jam" in 2006, and that year she was also the youngest poet to compete in the National Poetry Slam. Since then, Kay has shared her poetry on six of the seven continents. She is perhaps best known for her talk at the 2011 TED conference, which garnered two standing ovations and has been seen over three million times online.


Kay holds a Master’s Degree in The Art of Teaching from Brown University and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Grinnell College.  Her first book, "B" was ranked #1 Poetry Book on Amazon. Her second book, "No Matter the Wreckage" is a collection of poetry from the first decade of her career, released March 18, 2014. Other poems and articles have been published in Pear Noir!, the Literary Bohemian, DecomP, Damselfly Press, Union Station Magazine, Foundling Review, the Huffington Post,, among others. Kay is also a successful educator, who co-directs Project VOICE (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression). Founded by Kay in 2004, Project VOICE encourages people to use spoken word poetry as a tool for personal and world understanding, and a medium for vital expression. >More About Sarah