CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri, April 1, 2015 — Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn will present a reading of his work at 7 p.m. April 16 in Rose Theatre at Southeast Missouri State University, as part of the Dorothy and Wedel Nilsen Visiting Writer Series.
The event is free and open to the public, and a book signing will follow the reading.
Dunn is praised as one of America’s most renowned poets. Besides the Pulitzer, he has won the James Wright Award, an Academy Award for Literature, and the National Poetry Series Prize, among others. His work is praised for its plainspoken imagery exploring the social, cultural and psychological issues of the middle class in wise and often witty poems.
Dunn was born in New York City in 1939. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and English from Hofstra University, attended the New School Writing Workshops and finished his Master of Arts in creative writing at Syracuse University. Dunn was a first-generation college student who also played basketball and later became a professional basketball player. When asked in a National Public Radio interview if he found any connections between the two, he said that “the similarity between poetry and basketball is the chance to be better than yourself, to transcend yourself.”
Dunn has taught creative writing at Wichita State University, University of Washington, Columbia University, University of Michigan, Princeton University and the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He has also been an advertising copywriter for Nabisco and an editor. Of his great love of writing poetry, he says in an interview published in Nightsun, “The advantage of studying literature is that you learn many stories, philosophy, history, etc. You learn that we have commonalities of strangeness and secrets with our fellow humans. Because of many stories, we are that much more open to otherness.”
Dunn’s books of poetry include “Lines of Defense” (W. W. Norton, 2014); “Here and Now: Poems” (W. W. Norton, 2011); “What Goes On: Selected and New Poems 1995-2009” (2009); “Everything Else in the World” (2006); “Local Visitations” (2003); “Different Hours” (2000), winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry; (1996); “New and Selected Poems: 1974-1994” (1994); “Landscape at the End of the Century” (1991); “Loosestrife Between Angels” (1989); “Local Time” (1986), winner of the National Poetry Series; “Not Dancing” (1984); “Work & Love” (1981); “A Circus of Needs” (1978); “Full of Lust and Good Usage” (1976); and “Looking For Holes In the Ceiling” 1974. He is also the author of “Walking Light: Memoirs and Essays on Poetry” (BOA Editions, 2001), and “Riffs & Reciprocities: Prose Pairs” (1998).