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February 12, 2007 - Acclaimed author/poet Marilyn Nelson will give a presentation at Aquinas College on Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wege Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public. Nelson gave the inaugural reading when the Contemporary Writer Series opened on September 15, 1997. It is fitting that she does the final reading of the 10 year anniversary series.

Nelson was brought up on various military bases and developed a unique perspective on the Armed Services as the daughter of one of the last Tuskegee Airmen. She started writing while in elementary school. Having earned her B.A., she went on to receive her M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

Her books include The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems (1997), which was a finalist for the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the 1997 National Book Award, and the PEN Winship Award; Magnificat (1994); The Homeplace (1990), which won the 1992 Annisfield-Wolf Award and was a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award; Mama's Promises (1985); and For the Body (1978); all published by Louisiana State University Press. She has also published two collections of verse for children: The Cat Walked through the Casserole and Other Poems for Children (with Pamela Espeland, 1984) and Halfdan Rasmussen's Hundreds of Hens and Other Poems for Children (1982), which she translated from Danish with Pamela Espeland.

Nelson has received many honors for her writing including two Pushcart Prizes, two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, and the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award. She is a professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and has taught most recently at the University of Delaware.

The Aquinas College Contemporary Writers Series was founded by a grant from Aquinas alumni Tony Foster, M.D. and Linda Nemec Foster, sponsors of Nelson’s April 12 appearance. The series has brought many well-known authors to Aquinas College for public readings and workshops with students. For information on the Series, call (616) 632-2127 or click here.