Past Poet Laureate David Lee to Speak at SUU Building CelebrationSeptember 19, 2003
Author: Renee Ballenger
Dr. David Lee, professor emeritus of language and literature of Southern Utah University, will be one of the keynote presenters at “A Celebration of Arts and Humanities” September 24 at SUU.
The Celebration will present to the public, the remodeled Braithwaite Building, the New South Hall, and the refurbished Thorley Recital Hall. The program begins at 4 p.m. on the Upper Quad of the Cedar City campus. Admission is free; the Public is wholeheartedly invited to join in this celebration of the latest space and beautification at SUU.
Lee, who retired last year from 32 years teaching at SUU, has been invited back to campus, as his participation in the Celebration is especially appropriate. Lee served as the Language & Literature department chair; and the remodeled Braithwaite Building will house the entire English Department.
Utah’s first Poet Laureate (1997-2002), Lee will share some poetry as part of the Celebration’s program.
Upon the expiration of his time as Poet Laureate, he received a Commendation Award in the Utah House of Representatives.
His influence in raising public awareness of literacy and the heritage of Utah has reached beyond the state’s borders, across the nation. In 2001, First Lady Laura Bush invited Dr. Lee to visit with her at the White House. A fellow advocate of literacy, Mrs. Bush appreciated Lee’s work in the previous year, conducting workshops across the nation and as part of the American Library Association’s (ALA) “Live at the Library” program.
Lee is also a former nominee for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, and was a candidate being considered a few years back for Poet Laureate of the United States. Lee’s expertise, he explains, is in British literature and the poetry of John Milton. Lee always thought he would be a novelist. Still, he is a poet and a deservedly celebrated one, at that. He has several remarkable books of poetry published. But for someone who has never taken a creative writing course in his life, how is it that his poetry touches so many? Simple, he says; because it comes from his heart. Lee calls himself an amateur, and proudly so, as he points out that the word comes from the root “ama,” meaning love. “If poetry is not my religion, it is my theology, my gift. I do it for love.”
All in all, not bad for a kid from Post, Texas, who lived his formative poetic years in Paragonah, Utah, raising pigs--incidentally a lifestyle he wrote wonderful poetry about in his books “The Porcine Legacy” and “The Porcine Canticles.”
SUU is very happy to have him back on campus to enrich the Celebration of the buildings in which so many learn of special things, like poetry. Please join us.