9/11 Poet to set Stage for SUU's Future

Published: September 10, 2014 | Read Time: 2 minutes

U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will set the stage for the inauguration of SUU's 16th president, Scott L Wyatt, in his 9/11 Tribute and Convocation presentation at 11:30 a.m. in the Great Hall Thursday.

Collins, President Wyatt's favorite living poet, was the U.S. poet laureate at the time of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. He was commissioned to pay tribute, resulting in his nationally beloved poem, "The Names." Collins will present his poem in a special 9/11 tribute, which will begin at 11:30 a.m. Following the tribute, Collins will present and discuss additional works as part of the University's Convocations series.

Collins will present the 2014 Inauguration keynote address one day early in order to both set the tone for Wyatt's charge into SUU's future and to pay respect on an important day in the nation's history.

Danielle Dubrasky, Associate Professor of Creative Writing and also head of the Convocations series, said it will be a privilege to hear Collins read on SUU’s campus.

“He brings a national presence as a keynote speaker,” Dubrasky said. “He is an excellent reader of poetry.”

Wyatt agreed, adding, "Billy Collins is one of the very best — his work just makes you feel something."

Wyatt, who has invited Collins to read for his campus in the past, in his tenure at Snow College, has specifically asked Collins to discuss poems and ideas that lend messaging to the new President's inauguration theme: "Delivering on America's Promise."

Following Collins' tribute and presentation, there will be a book signing and reception at 12:30 p.m. in the lobby outside of the Great Hall. There will also be a “Conversation with Billy Collins” event in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Theater at 4 p.m., where any one will have the opportunity to casually speak with Collins.

Following his tenure as U.S. poet laureate, Collins also served as the New York State Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006. He is the author of several books of poetry and has won the Mark Twain Prize for Humor in Poetry as well as fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

In 1992, he was chosen by the New York Public Library to serve as the “Literary Lion.” He has conducted summer poetry workshops in Ireland at University College Galway and taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence and Lehman College, City University of New York.

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