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Gonzaga Visiting Writers Series Continues Nov. 29 with ‘WA129’ Poetry Readings

“WA129,” curated by GU English Professor and Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, contains 129 poems – one for each year of Washington’s statehood. (Photo courtesy Tod Marshall)

SPOKANE, Wash. – Following a powerful nonfiction presentation by scholar and activist Angela Davis, the 2017-18 Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series continues with readings from the poetry anthology “WA129” at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 29 in Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium.

Regional poets expected to read at the event include Terry Bain, Hank Buchanan, Dan Butterworth, Becky Carlson, Christopher Howell, Laurie Klein, Tod Marshall, Karen Mobley, Laura Read, Lynn Schott, Kat Smith, Ellen Welcker, John Whalen, and Nance Van Winckel.

“WA129,” curated by Gonzaga English professor and Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, contains 129 poems – one for each year of Washington’s statehood. Marshall began his appointment as Poet Laureate in 2016 and completes it on Jan. 31, 2018. The anthology is a Washington State Poet Laureate project funded by Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission; its proceeds support the State Poet Laureate program.

Marshall organizes the annual Visiting Writers series that he started in 2007. An Inland Northwest cultural gem, the series stimulates interest in literature and reading through dynamic encounters with some of our nation’s most accomplished and respected writers whose voices express new and different perspectives. The events are free and open to the public.

Gonzaga University Visiting
Writers Series 2018 Events:


American poet, educator and scholar Yusef Komunyakaa will read excerpts of his poetry on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Gonzaga’s Hemmingson Center Ballroom. Komunyakaa grew up in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and received a Bronze Star for his work as a correspondent during the Vietnam War. His ability to share stories and insights through a combination of personal narrative, jazz rhythms and personal vernacular paved the way to several other awards, including the San Francisco Poetry Center Award, Dark Room Poetry Prize and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. In 1994, Komunyakaa received the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. His most recent work is titled “Emperor of Water Clocks.” Komunyakaa earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado and master’s degrees from Colorado State University and the University of California at Irvine. Now, he teaches English at New York University.



Former New York State Poet Laureate Marie Howe will read from her work at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 6, in the Cataldo Hall Globe Room. Howe’s poetry is recognized for its use of Biblical and mythical allusions to portray various aspects of human life. She is the author of several renowned poetry collections, including: “The Good Thief”; “What the Living Do”; and “The Kingdom of Ordinary Time.” Howe is the recipient of the Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the American Academy of Poets, and fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her most recent collection, “Magdalene,” has been selected on the 2017 National Book Award Longlist for Poetry. She studied at the University of Windsor and Columbia University, and has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University and New York University.



The series concludes with “Gonzaga Reads,” featuring public readings from Jessica Halliday, senior lecturer in English at Gonzaga, and the 2018 Michael and Gail Gurian Awards winners at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 28 at in the Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium. Halliday earned a master’s of fine arts with an emphasis in fiction from Eastern Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. Her recent essay on raising a son in the competitive sports world was featured on the Sports Illustrated website. Her previous publications include “A Mother’s Fairy Tale” (Weber Studies: The Contemporary West) and “Out Where Everyone Can See” (The Spokesman-Review). The annual Gurian Awards honor three Gonzaga students for excellence in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction writing. The winners will read excerpts from their work. The contest is open to all enrolled Gonzaga undergraduates.

For more information, visit or contact Tod Marshall at (509) 313-6681 or


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