Richard Kenney, a renowned poet and an English professor at the University of Washington, will read from his works at 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 1 in Gonzaga University’s Cataldo Hall Globe Room. The event, which is free and open to the public, is the fifth of six in the 2009-2010 Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series.
Kenney teaches poetry and verse writing in the undergraduate and Master of Fine Arts programs at the University of Washington. He has led the U.W. creative writing summer seminar in Rome for several years. His poetry is informed by science. Kenney is interested in Celtic and classical literatures, and thinks about human evolution and language origins, the cognitive basis of poetic forms, and magical reasoning. Kenney is also interested in the Darwinian lives of subliterary species such as jokes, riddles, proverbs, charms, spells, nursery rhymes and weather-saws.
In 1987 he received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. Among his favorite poets are Shakespeare, Keats, Hopkins, Yeats, Auden, Frost, Larkin, Merrill. His books of poetry include:
- “The Invention of the Zero” (Knopf, 1993);
- “Orrery” (Atheneum, 1985);
- “The Evolution of the Flightless Bird.” (Yale University Press, 1984); and
- “The One-Strand River: Poems, 1994-2007” (Knopf, 2008).
The Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series, initiated and spearheaded by Tod Marshall, an associate professor of English at Gonzaga, offers lectures and readings at Gonzaga throughout the academic year by prominent writers who express diverse perspectives. The series received a $5,000 grant from Humanities Washington to fund appearances by writers of regional and national importance.
Writers who have presented at Gonzaga this year through this series were Denis Johnson, National Book Award winning novelist; Katrina Roberts, a poet from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.; Natasha Trethewey, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; and, most recently, Sharon Olds, an outstanding poet. The final writer to present in the series this year is Marshall, who will read from his poetry April 13 at 7:30 p.m.
For more information, contact GU English Associate Professor Tod Marshall at (509) 313-6681 or via e-mail.