Max Garland, Poet Laureate of Wisconsin, will read from his works at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, in the North Reading Room of Lane Library on the Ripon College campus. The reading is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will follow.
As Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate, Garland hopes to “reach out to those who may feel alienated from the world of poetry (or art), and yet have deeply felt experiences to record and honor. … Poetry is still a means of expression open to everyone. It’s one of those things that’s just too important to be left to experts.”
A first-generation college student, Garland left a 10-year career as a mail carrier to pursue his love of poetry. He earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa in 1989 and has been teaching since 1990; currently, he is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
His first poetry collection, “The Postal Confessions,” earned the prestigious Juniper Prize for Poetry. In it, Garland chronicles his years carrying the mail in a classic American voice, discovering deeply felt significance within everyday experiences often drawn from the lives of the folks who lived on his rural mail route.
His second book, “Hunger Wide as Heaven,” earned a national prize from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, a leading force in the publishing and promotion of new American poetry. Of his book, poet Naomi Shihab Nye writes, “There’s a welcoming world here you’ll recognize, as well as a wistfulness that feels perfectly pitched, leaning out to mystery. … I’m a mad fan of the delicious, radiant poems of Max Garland.”
Garland writes fiction and essays in addition to poetry. His other awards and honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, the Tara Award for Short Fiction, a James Michener Fiction Fellowship, a Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Poetry Fellowship, Two Wisconsin Arts Board Literary Fellowships, a Poetry Fellowship from the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, a Bush Artist Fellowship for 1999-2000, and the Arts and Letters Poetry Prize for 2004. Poems also have been chosen for inclusion on Poetry Daily, and recently were featured on Garrison Keillor’s “A Writer’s Almanac” on National Public Radio.
Garland visit is being sponsored by the Ripon College Visiting Writers Series as well as Lane Library, with assistance from the Schang Family Visiting Writer Fund. For more information, contact David Graham, Department of English, at 748-8722.