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2017 Jean Burden Poetry Series

Nationally recognized poet, Daniel Borzutzky, serves as distinguished reader

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Poet Daniel Borzutzky

Poet Daniel Borzutzky

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Poet Daniel Borzutzky

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On Thursday evening the College of Arts and Letters hosted the annual Jean Burden Poetry Series in conjunction with the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics. The featured reader for the evening was poet Daniel Borzutsky, author of “The Performance of Becoming Human,” which won the 2016 National Book Award for poetry. The event included both a pre and post reception where attendees were able to meet the author, purchase copies of his book and have them autographed.

The series was created for Burden who died in 2008 at the age of 93. “This series, one of the longest running and most prestigious in the U.S., was established in 1986 by friends of the late Jean Burden to honor her achievements as a poet, essayist, editor, teacher and scholar.”

The evening was opened with a welcome from the Dean of Art and Letters, Dr. Rennie B. Schoepflin. The Dean then introduced, Dr. Lauri Ramey, Professor of English and Director of the Presidentially Chartered Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics. Dr. Ramey had the distinct privilege of introducing the events distinguished reader.

“I find some of his most interesting writing to occur in his metalinguistic engagements. The editorial moments of stepping outside of language. Confronting language and demanding that language account for and reconfigure itself,” said Dr. Ramey. “Jean Burden would be proud to know that the 33rd annual Jean Burden Poet for 2017 is Daniel Borzutsky. Please join me in welcoming him this evening.”

Borzutsky took to the stage and read from a number of his different projects. He also read from a portion of one of his unpublished series from a book entitled “Lake Michigan” which is about a prison camp on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago.  

The distinguished poet was gracious and thankful for the opportunity and honor. “Thanks very much to the poetry center and everybody involved in bringing me here. And, especially thanks to everybody in the audience and all the students who have come tonight. I am really appreciative and honored to be here with you,” said Borzutsky.

The mission of the center is to present activities and events to promote the full range of poetic voices from diverse cultural backgrounds and approaches to the genre, promoting appreciation and understanding of contemporary poetry and poetics in a wide array of forms and styles, encouraging research and preservation in contemporary poetry and poetics and stimulating the creation of new poetry.  

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2017 Jean Burden Poetry Series