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National Book Award recipient Nikky Finney to appear on campus

Posted: September 28th, 2012

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- Nikky Finney, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry for Head Off & Split, and known as one of the most eloquent, fearless and necessary poets in America, will be visiting Lake Superior State University on Thursday, Oct. 4, to present a reading and master class.

The public is welcome to a poetry reading and reception with Finney from 7-9 p.m. in the Kenneth J. Shouldice Library auditorium. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served. Earlier in the day, any aspiring poets are invited to a free special master class with Finney from 2-3 p.m. in Crawford Hall of Science, room 204.

Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and black arts movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff's Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history.

She has written four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011), which was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry; The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). Finney also wrote Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co- founded the Affrilachian Poets. She is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Kentucky.

Head Off & Split, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, and Heartwood are all available in the LSSU bookstore.


Nikky Finney speaks to an LSSU master class on Oct. 4 -- A print-resolution copy of this photo is available at this link.

Finney's visit to campus is part of a literary initiative called "Opening a Literary Dialogue in the Easter Upper Peninsula," which has been made possible in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It's part of LSSU's Visiting Writer Series, which brings highly acclaimed literary authors and poets to the campus to raise awareness of the university's expanding creative writing program and bring together the community and college in a shared literary experience. Participants will have the opportunity to hear writers read their work, answer questions about their writing process, and sign books.

LSSU offers both an undergraduate major and minor in creative writing.

"Creative writing at LSSU is an intimate program with enthusiastic faculty, and encourages innovation and experimentation as students develop their voices," said LSSU English Prof. Janice Repka. "Students complete coursework in prose, poetry, and performance writing, and are given opportunities to get publishing experience before graduation."

Learn more at lssu.edu/English. Space is limited for Finney's master class. Registration is recommended by contacting Repka, jrepka@lssu.edu, 906-635-2448. -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315, tpink@lssu.edu; John Shibley, 635-2314, jshibley@lssu.edu; Prof. Janice Repka, 635-2448, jrepka@lssu.edu


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