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Connecticut Poet Laureate Marilyn Nelson begins the series on September 20

GT. BARRINGTON, MA – Marilyn Nelson, Connecticut Poet Laureate, will be the first guest in the Simon’s Rock Poetry and Fiction Series. She will give a reading of her poetry on September 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Nelson is author of The Cachoeira Tales and Other Poems; Carver: A Life in Poems; The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems; and Magnificat.  The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including two Pushcart Prizes, two NEA Writing Fellowships, a Guggenheim, and a Fulbright Fellowship, Nelson is Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Nelson has also published 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; and A Wreath for Emmett Till (Houghton Mifflin, 2005), a book of interlinked sonnets that deals with the 1955 lynching of a 14-year-old boy in Mississippi. 

Born in Cleveland in 1946, to a U.S. Air Force serviceman and a teacher, and brought up on military bases, she started writing while still in elementary school.  She earned her BA from the University of California, Davis, and holds graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Minnesota.

• The Poetry and Fiction series will continue on October 2, with novelist and short story writer Joanna Scott reading from her fiction.  The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim, and the Lannan Literary Award, Scott is the author of nine books, including Everybody Loves Somebody,  Tourmaline (a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award), and  The Manikin (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize).  She is the Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English at the University of Rochester.

• Nathan Englander will read from his new novel, The Ministry of Special Cases, on Thursday, October 18.  Winner of the Bard Fiction Prize and a PEN/Malamud Award, Englander is also the author of For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, the celebrated story collection that received the Sue Kaufmann Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker and The Best American Short Stories.

• The final reading in the series will be given by Jonathan Aaron on Thursday, October 25.  The author of three collections of poetry, including Journey to the Lost City, Aaron has received many honors, including fellowships from Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and the Massachusetts Endowment for the Arts. His poems, essays, and reviews have been widely published in periodicals, including The Paris Review, The New York Review of Books, and The Times Literary Supplement. He lives in Cambridge and teaches at Emerson College. 

The Poetry and Fiction Series, coordinated by faculty member Peter Filkins, is a Simon’s Rock and Great Barrington tradition that has hosted such writers as Seamus Heaney, Annie Proulx, James Merrill, William Kennedy, Susan Sontag, Michael Cunningham, Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott, Richard Wilbur, Le Thi Diem Thuy, and others. The readings, which are generally one hour in length, take place in the Blodgett House at 7:30 p.m.  An opportunity to ask questions follows each reading, and both students and members of the community are encouraged to participate.

Simon's Rock Media Contact:
Briee Della Rocca: 413 644-4706
E-mail: bdellarocca@simons-rock.edu