The Visiting Writer Seminars at Oklahoma Baptist University will welcome accomplished author Mark Jarman to campus Sept. 27-28.
Jarman is a poet and the author of “The Heronry” and “Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems,” both from Sarabande Books. He has also published two books of essays about poetry, “The Secret of Poetry” and “Body and Soul: Essays on Poetry.” He is Centennial Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.
"Mark Jarman is well-known not only for the formal sophistication of his poems but also for the way he frequently addresses issues of faith and doubt in such books as Questions for Ecclesiastes, Epistles, and Unholy Sonnets,” said Dr. Brent Newsom, associate professor of English. “We are extremely lucky to have one of the major figures of the ‘New Narrative’ and ‘New Formalist’ movements in poetry visiting OBU, but Jarman is a particularly relevant figure for our campus community because he addresses the complexities of religious belief head-on."
Jarman will give a public reading Thursday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Tulsa Royalties Auditorium in Bailey Business Center. A question and answer session will follow the reading. This event is also the opening night event for the Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature, but the reading is free and open to the public.
Friday evening, Jarman will deliver a keynote address in the upper GC at approximately 7:15 p.m. This keynote is part of a banquet at the Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature, however, the lecture portion is free and open to members of campus and the Shawnee community.
Established with the support of many generous alumni and donors, the Visiting Writer Seminars were created to give OBU students, faculty, staff and members of the Shawnee community the chance to experience literature as a living art. Each year a nationally recognized poet or fiction writer is brought to campus to share their work in a public reading, visit classes, meet with students and faculty, and offer a public master class or lecture on writing.
Beginning in 2010, the English Department Reading Series brought writers to campus, focusing on writers living in the area. The Visiting Writer Seminars then began in order to elevate the experience for students and the campus community by bringing in nationally accomplished authors. The University’s first visiting writer, Tania Runyan, came to campus in March 2016. She read from her poems, lectured on writing poetry and consulted with students about their writing. Scott Cairns joined the University for the fall 2016 Visiting Writer Seminar, giving a poetry reading and teaching a masterclass on writing memoir. Gina Ochsner held a reading and a fiction writing master class last fall.
Financial support for the Visiting Writer Seminars is being raised through the University advancement office to continue bringing excellent writers to OBU's campus. Through the gift of generous alumni donors, a matching gift up to $5,000 per year was pledged beginning in 2017 and running through 2019. The $5,000 level was reached in the first year, enabling the program to continue to grow. Those interested in donating to the VWS may visit www.okbu.edu/humanities/language-literature/visiting-writer-seminars.