Poet Voigt to give two presentations at CSB

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October 13, 2009

Poet Ellen Bryant Voigt will give two presentations Oct. 20-21 while in residency at the College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph. She will conduct a reading of her poetry at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 at the Teresa Reception Center’s Fireside Lounge, Main Building, CSB.

Voigt’s second public appearance will be a conversation with author and poet Charles Baxter at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21 at the Gorecki Family Theater, Benedicta Arts Center of the College of Saint Benedict. They will discuss her latest book, The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song, which is this year’s selection for the Sister Mariella Gable Prize, an award given by CSB for an important work of literature published by Graywolf Press, Minneapolis. Voigt and Baxter, who is the series editor, will talk about the craft of writing and the writer’s life.

Both readings, which are sponsored by the Warner Foundation, are free and open to the public.

Voigt is an award-winning poet who is the author of seven books of poetry. The Art of Syntax is a book on the writer’s craft. In it, Voigt parses out the alluring shape of poetic language. Through brilliant readings of poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, Stanley Kunitz, D.H. Lawrence and others, Voigt examines the signature musical scoring writers deploy to orchestrate meaning.

“This structure - this architecture - is the essential drama of the poem’s composition,” she writes in the book.

Her previous book of poetry, Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976–2006, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Her poems, which have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic and The Nation, have also been selected for a Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry (1993). 

Voigt served as the Vermont State Poet from 1999 to 2003, when she was elected chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.

The Sister Mariella Gable Award is given each year by CSB for an important work of literature published by Graywolf Press. Graywolf Press, recently described by Ploughshares magazine as "arguably the best small press in the country," and the Literary Arts Institute have formed an innovative collaboration to explore new ways of promoting the literary arts on campus, to audiences in the surrounding area, and in the Twin Cities.

Gable's spirit inspires the Literary Arts Institute and all of its programs. Gable – a Dante scholar, poet, editor, writer and champion of new fiction - was an outstanding English professor who taught at CSB from 1928-1973. She guided many students into lives informed by literature and played an important role in the early careers of such writers as Flannery O'Connor, Betty Wahl and J.F. Powers.

Voigt will also give a reading at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22 at the Open Book Literary Arts Center, 1011 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis.