English Department to Welcome Nationally Renowned Poet Marilyn Nelson – St. Olaf College

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The St. Olaf College English Department will welcome nationally acclaimed poet, author and educator Marilyn Nelson to campus on April 28 as part of the Claire Gilbert Marty Guest Writer Series.

Nelson will give a poetry reading at 7 p.m. at the Viking Theater which is open to the community. Please note that the organizers have requested that all attendees wear masks for this event. Earlier in the day, she will meet with creative writing students.

A three-time National Book Award finalist, Nelson is the author or translator of more than 20 books and collections for adults and children. Among these are many critically acclaimed books, including A crown for Emmett Tillan honor book by Coretta Scott King and Printz; Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poemswho won the 1998 Poets Prize; Carver: A Life in Poems, which won the 2001 Boston Globe/Hornbook Award and the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award; and bones of fortune, which was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and won the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. She is also the author of memoirs How I discovered poetry and the biography Augusta Savage: The Shape of a Sculptor’s Life.

The long list of honors Nelson has received includes the Annisfield-Wolf Award, Poets Award, PEN Winship Award, Lenore Marshall Award, Frost Medal, Poetry Society of America Award for “Distinguished Work of a lifetime in poetry”, and grants from Fulbright, the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The homeNelson’s award-winning collection of poems, detailed his family’s history, including his father’s years as one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the famous group of black airmen who fought in World War II.

Nelson earned his BA from the University of California at Davis, his MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut, she also taught during her career abroad as well as at St. Olaf’s for several years. She recently served as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

About the Claire Gilbert Marty Guest Writer Series
The Claire Gilbert Marty Guest Writer Series was created in 2017 in honor of the late Claire Gilbert Marty, a former student of St. Olaf who demonstrated a passion for literature and how the intricacies of human relationships could be illuminated through the literary arts. The guest writer series established in his memory seeks both to honor his character, faith, and intellect, and to enrich the St. Olaf community by inviting writers whose work complements his fascination with the complexities of life. and his appreciation of wit and humor. Previous writers who have visited campus as part of the series include Ramona Ausubel and Jamel Brinkley.


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