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Public invited to attend poetry reading by Penn State laureate

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Robin Becker, professor of English and women's studies, 2010-11 Penn State laureate. Photo Credit: Andy Colwell (2010)
10/29/2010 —

Penn State Laureate Robin Becker will share some of her work during a public reading at Penn State Mont Alto on Monday, November 8 at 2:00pm in the campus library. A book signing will follow at the campus bookstore at 3:30pm. Becker, a professor of English and women's studies in the College of the Liberal Arts and a nationally acclaimed poet, was named the 2010-11 Penn State laureate earlier this year.

The Penn State laureate is a full-time University faculty member in the humanities or fine arts who is assigned half-time for one academic year to bring an enhanced level of social, cultural, artistic and human perspective and awareness to a broad array of audiences. The laureate appears at events throughout the University and the state.

"As the 2010-2011 Penn State laureate, I will initiate activities that engage students, alumni and others in the deep pleasures of poetry -- language crafted and shaped from words, the ‘ordinary’ material we all use every day," said Becker. "Through readings and discussions, I'll present poems by myself and others, exploring how and why poems move us. Working with new technologies, I hope to combine 'virtual' activities with campus visits throughout the state."

A member of Penn State's faculty since 1994, Becker has published seven books of poetry and has been highly sought as a contributor, judge, reviewer and critic in the field of poetry for almost two decades. She has logged more than 125 speaking engagements across the United States, including numerous universities, the National Arts Club, and the New York Public Library. Becker has received many awards for her work, including the 1997 Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry for her book of poems titled "All-American Girl." From Prairie Schooner magazine, she received the 2010 Glenna Luschi Award for Excellence in Writing for 10 poems published in that journal. In 2000, she received Penn State’s George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Becker graduated from Boston University with undergraduate and master's degrees in English and creative writing-poetry, respectively. She began her faculty career in The Writing Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In spring 1992 she served as a visiting professor of English at Kent State University. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in creative writing in 1989, a 1995-96 fellowship by the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College and a 2000-01 fellowship as the William Steeple Davis Artist-in-Residence in Orient, N.Y. In addition, she has had residencies at artist colonies including The MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Ucross Foundation and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico.

Becker's first book of poetry, "Personal Effects," was published in 1979; her subsequent published collections include "Giacometti's Dog," "All-American Girl," "The Horse Fair," and, most recently, "Domain of Perfect Affection." The Frick Art and Historical Center published "Venetian Blue," a chapbook of Becker’s poems about the visual arts.

Becker is a contributing editor to Ploughshares magazine and The Women’s Review of Books, where she also serves as poetry editor and writes a column on the national poetry scene called "Field Notes." Her book reviews and poetry often appear in prestigious national literary journals.

For information about the poetry reading, book signing, and reception, contact the Office of Academic Affairs at smk17@psu.edu or 717-749-6051. For more information about Becker, visit http://english.la.psu.edu/facultystaff/Bio_Becker.htm online. A list of her scheduled events is at http://live.psu.edu/story/47796 online.

To watch videos of Becker reading some of her poems during her weekly laureate series "The Poet's Perspective," visit http://laureate.psu.edu/videos online.

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