Ted Kooser, author of 12 books of poetry, and Terrance Hayes, winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry, will share their works and thoughts with Grand Valley State University Friday as part of the Fall Arts Celebration.
The poets will read some of their work before discussing it with the audience.
Kooser’s straightforward writing style, deceptively clear in its simplicity, complements Hayes’ similar face-forward approach to words, but Hayes brings a fresh perspective of integrated technology to counteract Kooser’s age-old tact of insight.
“Their work will be an interesting point-counterpoint between older and younger, Midwest vs. Pittsburgh, perhaps even somewhat rural vs. urban,” said Patricia Clark, a GVSU writing professor. Clark is the author of three books of poetry and the director of Poetry Night.
Kooser is the senior writer of the duo, an English professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, former U.S. poet laureate and winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
Once vice president for a company in the life insurance business, Kooser is now renowned for his ability to access his reader with clarity of thought.
Hayes will bring his own set of experiences to the conversation. He is quickly becoming a source of velocity in American poetry, with completed works such as “Hip Logic,” “Muscular Music” and “Lighthead” forcing the public to take a second look at non-prose.
“Poetry Night brings poetry to the campus and community and has been one of the best-attended events since its inception,” said Teri Losey, the coordinator of the Fall Arts Celebration. “Fall Arts at GVSU is a celebration of the arts and humanities.”
Fall Arts Celebration is meant to bring GVSU’s culture to the public, and each interaction during the celebration informs, Losey said.
“For someone who isn’t familiar with poetry, this is an easy way to see some of the best poets in the country read their own poems,” she said. “It is very powerful. And often, in my experience, better than I would have expected.”
Clark said there is a difference from reading the poetry and actually hearing the poets read their work in person.
“Often they make interesting comments,” Clark said. “Certainly, in nearly all cases, they make their work come alive.”
Poetry Night will take place at 7 p.m. Friday on the second floor of the L.V. Eberhard Center on the GVSU Pew Campus.