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November 18, 2011

Distinguished Poet Gerald Stern to Read at Smith College

Gerald SternNORTHAMPTON, Mass.— Smith College will present a poetry reading by Gerald Stern at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Stern is an American master. Born in Pittsburgh, Penn., in 1925, Stern himself had no mentors. A child of immigrant parents, he grew up in a home without books and studied philosophy and political science in college. His first book, which he published at age 48, earned him instant critical acclaim. “I thought you read poetry,” he says, “and, like a spider, you did it from the threads of your own belly. So it made me wait for a long time before I got some success. Decades. But at the same time, it made my poetry, whatever came, me.”

When he burst on the scene in the early 70s, the Chicago Tribune Book World anointed Stern “the most startling and tender poet to emerge in America in a decade.” From the start, his poems reflected a deep connection to the natural world and to places and things abandoned. He has gone on to publish 17 books of poetry, including “Lucky Life,” the 1977 Academy of American Poets Lamont Poetry Selection; “This Time: New and Selected Poems,” winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and, most recently, “Save the Last Dance.” He has also written three books of essays. Stern’s many accolades include the Wallace Stevens Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, three National Endowment for the Arts awards, a PEN award and the Ruth Lilly Prize for Lifetime Achievement.

In addition to many years on the faculty at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Stern has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently on the faculty of the Drew University MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation in Madison, N.J. He served as the first Poet Laureate of New Jersey.

Stern’s reading will be followed by a book sale and signing. For more information, contact Jennifer Blackburn in the Poetry Center office at (413) 585-4891.

For disability access information or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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