Poet Ellen Bryant Voigt to Appear at Hamilton College
Voigt's most recent collection of poetry, Kyrie, a finalist for the1996 National Book Critics Circle Award, takes us back to an almost forgottenpoint in history, the influenza outbreaks of 1918-19. Also known as the"Spanish" flu, this pandemic came in the wake of WWI and claimed over 25million lives worldwide, there were half a million deaths in the United Statesalone.
In 50 poems told in a series of overlapping voices, Voigt positionsKyrie as an unspoken metaphor for the AIDS epidemic and captures thepain, fear and anguish that only disease can bring to the human spirit.
Caroline Finkelstein writing in the Harvard Review said "there iswisdom in this collection: it shows us both the particular and the universal,and informs us how often they prove to be the same."
A former professor of writing at the University of Iowa and Goddard College,Voigt has published five books of her own poems, including The LotusFlowers (1987) and Two Trees (1992). Her second collection TheForces of Plenty (1983) was recently reissued by Carnegie Mellon.
The winner of several awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and theGuggenheim Foundation, Voigt currently teaches at the M.F.A. program at WarrenWilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Her poems have appeared in TheNew Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic and TheNation, as well as numerous literary journals. Voigt's presentation is partof the Reading Series at Hamilton which is sponsored by the department ofEnglish. The most recent guests of the Reading Series include author BrettLott and world renowned poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko.