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Visiting Writers Series Presents Poetry Reading with Gerald Barrax

092804barrax_dl.jpgBOONE–Poet Gerald Barrax participates in Appalachian State University’s Visiting Writers Series on Thursday, Oct 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union’s Linville Falls Room. Books will be available for sales and signings.

A reception for Barrax will be held prior to his reading in Plemmons Student Union’s Multicultural Center from 6-7:15 p.m. The reception is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and the Department of English.

For more information, call (828) 262-2871.

Barrax is spending six-weeks at Appalachian as the Rachel Rivers-Coffey Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing. The professorship honors the late newspaperwoman and writer. Rivers-Coffey, along with her husband Armfield Coffey, owned and published “The Watauga Democrat” for 20 years. The professorship is awarded annually to a writer of national prominence and rotates among various genres. As part of the appointment, the distinguished professor teaches a creative writing seminar, conducts community outreach and other off-campus activities and is featured in the Visiting Writers Series.

Barrax began writing poetry as a teenager. “A girl named Ellen got me started writing poetry,” he said in an interview with N.C. State University Department of English faculty member Joyce Pettis. Barrax had been in the hospital for an operation, and when he returned home, Ellen gave him a poem she had written. “I was astonished. I hadn’t thought much about poetry before. But I wrote a poem back to her. It was just as bad as hers, but at least it got me started.”

Barrax’s work has appeared in more than 30 anthologies and magazines. His books of poetry include “From a Person Sitting in Darkness: New and Selected Poems,” the Pulitzer Prize nominated “Leaning Against the Sun” and “The Deaths of Animals and Lesser Gods.”

Barrax has been a poetry editor for the journals Obsidian and Callaloo. He is a professor of English at N. C. State University.

Barrax’s works are “marked by originality, introspection, and intellectual engagement with a wide range of subjects,” says The Virginia Quarterly Review. “Barrax offers his own cultural perspective as a poignant model of universal human experience – the impulse towards the divine, the need to create and its inclination to destroy.”

Parking for Visiting Writers Series events is available for non-university community members after 5 p.m. in the parking lot below Raley Hall. Also suggested is the lot across from the First Presbyterian Church, behind the campus Post Office.

The Fall 2004 Visiting Writers Series is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

The series also is supported by the Appalachian State University Foundation; Appalachian’s Offices of Academic Affairs, Multicultural Student Development and Cultural Affairs; the College of Arts and Sciences; the University Bookstore; The Appalachian Journal; and The Richard T. Barker Friends of the University Library. Business sponsors are The Gideon Ridge Inn and The Red Onion Restaurant.

Community and other sponsors are The Friends of Kathy Fitzpatrick, Mildred Luckhardt and Robert Moren, John and Marjorie Idol and The Dover Foundation.