OSU visiting writers series brings noted authors to Corvallis


CORVALLIS - Four acclaimed American poets and writers will come to Corvallis in 1999-2000 as part of Oregon State University's Visiting Writers Series, including bestselling novelist Russell Banks, author of "Affliction" and "The Sweet Hereafter."

The series kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 21, with a visit from poet Pattiann Rogers, author of seven works of poetry, most recently "Firekeeper" and "Eating Bread and Honey." Rogers will read from her work at 7:30 p.m. in the LaSells Stewart Center's Con struction and Engineering Auditorium, on the OSU campus. She will also give an informal afternoon talk on the writer's craft, "Human Imagination in the Natural World." The talk , from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Memorial Union 206, is sponsored by OSU's Center for Writing and Learning and the Associated Students of OSU.

Among Rogers' many awards are two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation, and the Frederick Bock prize from Poetry magazine. Her visit is sponsored by the OSU Department of English, the Center for Writing and Le arning, ASOSU, the Program for Ethics, Science and the Environment and the Department of Philosophy.

Poet and essayist Stephen Dunn will read from his work and talk about the art of poetry on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Corvallis Arts Center (700 S.W. Madison). Dunn, who has been called "one of the strongest voices of his generation," is the author of 10 collections of poetry, including "Loosestrife," a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1996. Among Dunn's many awards are the Oscar Blumenthal award from Poetry magazine, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the R ockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. His visit is sponsored by the Department of English and the Center for Writing and Learning.

Banks, whose novels "The Sweet Hereafter" and "Affliction" have been made into award-winning motion pictures, will speak at OSU next March 9. His reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the LaSells Stewart Center's Austin Auditorium. A native New Englander, Banks is the author of more than a dozen works of fiction. Fred Pfeil, former OSU faculty member in English and creative writing, said in the Voice Literary Supplement that Banks is "writing directly about the rage and damage, the capitulations, self cor ruptions and small resistances of subordinated lives."

Wrote Pfeil: "Banks has now become┬╝the most important living white male American on the official literary map, a writer┬╝we can actually learn from, whose books help and urge us to change."

Among the OSU sponsors for this event are the English Department, the OSU Provost's Office, and The Valley Library.

In May, the Visiting Writers Series presents a fiction reading by acclaimed first-time novelist Susan Choi, author of "The Foreign Student." Choi's reading, along with a question and answer period, will take place in the Valley Library Rotunda on May 12 at 7:30 p.m.

All of the above literary events are free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale and author signing at the evening lectures.

For more information on the OSU Visiting Writers Series, call Marjorie Sandor in the OSU English Department at 737-1648.