POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—This October, the English Department at Vassar College will present two readings in October. Both are free and open to the public.
The first program on Thursday, October 1, is the annual Elizabeth Bishop Poetry Series presentation, which will be delivered by noted poet and writer Thylias Moss, the Helen Forster Novy ’28 Visiting Scholar. The reading will begin at 5:30 pm in the Blanche Brumback Spitzer Auditorium in Eleanor Butler Sanders Hall.
The second presentation, the annual Gifford lecture, will be given by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz on Wednesday, October 28. This program will begin at 6:00pm in the Villard Room on the second floor of the College Center in Vassar’s historic Main Building. The event is co-sponsored by Departments of English and Hispanic Studies, as well as the Africana Studies Program at Vassar College, as part of year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the program.
ABOUT THE LECTURERS
Thylias Moss is a poet, writer, sound artist, and professor of English at the University of Michigan. Two of her poetry collections, Last Chance for Tarzan Holler(1997) and Pyramid of Bone(1989), were finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Among the honors she has been awarded are a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Artist’s Fellowship from the Massachusetts Arts Council, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and Kenan Charitable Trust Grant, as well as the Witter Bynner Award for poetry.
Moss’ works can be described as eclectic and experimental, as she frequently fuses genres, along with fields of study, and incorporates computer technology into some of her works. For example she chooses to write multimedia works entitled “poams,” instead of poems.
Her most recent book titled Tokyo Butter: Poemswas published in 2006. Her other poetry collections include, Slave Moth: A Narrative in Verse(2004), Small Congregations: New and Selected Poems(1993), Rainbow Remnants in Rock Bottom Ghetto Sky(1991), At Redbones (1990), and Hosiery Seams on a Bowlegged Woman(1983). Moss has also published two plays, Talking to Myself(1984) and The Dolls in the Basement (1984), and a memoir entitled Tale of a Sky-Blue Dress(1998.)
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz will give the annual Gifford lecture on Wednesday, October 28. This program will begin at 6:00pm in the Villard Room on the second floor of the College Center in Vassar’s historic Main Building. The event is co-sponsored by Departments of English and Hispanic Studies, as well as the Africana Studies Program at Vassar College, as part of year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the program.
Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1968, Junot Díaz is the fiction editor at the Boston Reviewand is The Rudge (1948) and Nancy Allen Chair at MITat the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Díaz published The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao(2007), which garnered him immense critical acclaim and success. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008, the novel received the John Sargent Senior First Novel Prize, the Massachusetts Book Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in Fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Waowas named the Best Novel of the Year by New Yorkmagazine and was in the number one slot of the Top 10 Fiction Books of 2007 by Timemagazine. The novel also appeared in more than 35 best-of-the-year booklists.
The acclaimed author has also received a Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Award, the 2002 Pen/Malamud Award, the 2003 US-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Díaz’s works have been published in magazines such as The New Yorkerand African Voices, as well as the literary collections Best American Short Stories(1996, 1997, 1999, 2000), Pushcart Prize XXII(1998) and The O'Henry Prize Stories(2009).
People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Directions to the Vassar Campus are available online .
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.