A.P.E.X. Presents David Lee, Utah’s First Poet Laureate

Published: September 15, 2020 | Author: Southern Utah University | Read Time: 2 minutes

APEX Events presents David LeeA.P.E.X. Events is happy to present the first event of the 2020-2021 season! In collaboration with Southern Utah University's Alumni and Community Relations Office to celebrate the 2020 Homecoming Week, the event will feature David Lee, Utah’s First Poet Laureate. Join A.P.E.X. Events on September 24, 2020, at 11:30 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Hunter Conference Center. 

"I can not think of a better way to start off the A.P.E.X. Season than to feature an alumnus of such high caliber," said Dr. Lynn Vartan, director of A.P.E.X. Events. "It shows how far we Thunderbirds can soar! Join us in person or online for this great event.”

David Lee has been invited back to campus after retiring from 32 years teaching at SUU and serving as the Language & Literature department chair. In addition to this, he was Utah’s first Poet Laureate (1997-2002) and 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. 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.” 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.”

A.P.E.X. Events is SUU’s premier weekly lecture series, with speakers and presenters invited from all areas of the world. While on campus, guests are invited to interact with students and faculty in multiple ways, with opportunities to connect and network in vast areas of scholarship. All A.P.E.X. events are free and open to the public.

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