2017 Fall Writing Series




Co-sponsored with Wednesday Night Live.


Poet and essayist Ocean Vuong is the author of the best-selling Night Sky with Exit Wounds, winner of the Whiting Award and Thom Gunn Award, finalist for Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Lamda Literary Prize, and was named by the New York Times as a Top 10 Book of 2016. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, his honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize.


Vuong's writings have been featured in The Atlantic, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review,which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as a 2016 100 Leading Global Thinker, alongside Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon and Warsan Shire, Ocean was also named by BuzzFeed Books as one of “32 Essential Asian American Writers” and has been profiled on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PBS NewsHour, Teen Vogue, VICE, The Fantastic Man, and The New Yorker.


Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he now lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he serves as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at Umass-Amherst. He is currently at work on his first novel.


Quiet as a Creative Force: 3 p.m., LookOut! Gallery, Snyder Hall


Reading: 7 p.m., RCAH Theatre


               Reception following, LookOut! Gallery, Snyder Hall.



October 4

Ocean Vuong

Photo: Tom Hines

October 24

Dan Gerber



Co-sponsored with the Michigan Writers Series


The author of more than a dozen books, including eight volumes of poetry, Dan Gerber is also a Michigan native, an MSU alumnus (history, philosophy, political science, 1962), a former professional race car driver, and co-founder of the literary journal Sumac with the late Jim Harrison. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Best American Poetry, The Nation, Narrative, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere.



Reading: 7 p.m., Green Room (4th floor, West wing), MSU Main Library




October 31, November 2

George Ella Lyon and Diane Gilliam

Photo: Ann W. Olson

George Ella Lyon has published award-winning books for readers of all ages, and her poem, “Where I’m From,” has been used as a model by teachers around the world. Recent titles include She Let Herself Go (poems) and the following picture books: Which Side Are You On? The Story of a Song, and All the Water in the World (both CCBC Choices), The Pirate of Kindergarten (Schneider Award) and You and Me and Home Sweet Home (Jane Addams Honor). Originally from the mountains of Kentucky, Lyon was the Kentucky Poet Laureate from 2015-2016. She works as a freelance writer and teacher based in Lexington, where she lives with her husband, writer and musician Steve Lyon. They have two grown sons.


Diane Gilliam is the author of the lyric narrative Dreadful Wind & Rain, and three collections of poetry: Kettle Bottom, One of Everything, and the chapbook Recipe for Blackberry Cake. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Ohio State University. She is the recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing, a Pushcart Prize, and the Gift of Freedom literary frize from the A Room of Her Own Foundation.


READING (with 2017 Benvenuto High School Poetry Competition winners): Tuesday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m., RCAH Theatre

               Reception following, LookOut! Gallery, Snyder Hall.


AFTERNOON TALK  Writerly FriendsAn Informal Conversation: Thursday, Nov. 2 at 3 p.m., LookOut! Gallery, Snyder Hall

November 8

Crystal Good

Crystal Good uses poetry and performance to explore the landscape of Appalachia as a lens into the universe. She is a member of the Affrilachian Poets, a Irene McKinney Scholar and performs with Heroes Are Gang Leaders, a New York-based Free/Avant-Garde experimental improvisation ensemble. She is the author of  Valley Girl and is working on her second collection of poetry. She is the CEO and founder of Mixxed Media, a mission-driven emerging startup boutique marketing and consulting firm seeking to disrupt the status quo through innovations in media, publishing, government relations, and community engagement.


Afternoon Conversation: 3 p.m., LookOut! Gallery, Snyder Hall


Reading: 7 p.m., RCAH Theatre


               Reception following, LookOut! Gallery, Snyder Hall.





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