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Fall 2011 Raymond Carver Reading Series final installments include memoirist and poet

Memoirist and poet Peter Balakian and poet Christopher Kennedy featured writers

Nov 15, 2011 — Article by: Judy Holmes

Peter Balakian head shot

Award-winning poet and memoirist Peter Balakian

The final two installments of the Fall 2011 Raymond Carver Reading Series will feature memoirist and poet Peter Balakian, who will read from his latest work, Ziggurat, on Nov. 30; and award-winning poet Christopher Kennedy, who will share his work on Dec. 7. Both readings will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Huntington Beard Crouse (HBC) Gifford Auditorium on the Syracuse University campus. A question and answer session from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. will precede each reading. The events are free and open to the public. Parking is available in SU’s paid lots.

Balakian is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities and director of creative writing at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. In his first book of poems since the critically acclaimed June-tree (HarperCollins, 2004), Balakian wrestles with the aftermath and reverberations of 9/11, exploring history, self, and imagination, as well as his ongoing concerns with catastrophe and trauma. Anchored by a 43-section poem about reliving the building of the World Trade Towers, Ziggurat (University of Chicago Press, 2010) explores absence, war, love, and art in a new age of American uncertainty.

Balakian has received a number of awards for his work. His memoir, Black Dog of Fate received the 1998 PEN/Martha Albrand Prize and The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response (HarperCollins, 2004), a New York Times bestseller, won the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize. He has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Emily Clark Balch Prize for poetry, the 2007 Movses Khorenatsi Medal from the Republic of Armenia, and the 1990 Anahid Literary Prize from the Columbia University Armenian Center.
Award-winning poet Christopher Kennedy, director of the Creative Writing Program in SU's College of Arts and Sciences.

Award-winning poet Christopher Kennedy, director of the Creative Writing Program in SU's College of Arts and Sciences.

Christopher Kennedy, associate professor and director of the Creative Writing Program in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences, is the author of four poetry collections. His latest, Ennui Prophet (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2011), is a collection of poems that range from deeply personal explorations of relationships with family and friends, to examinations of the political climate in the first decade of the millennium.  His other collections of poetry are Encouragement for a Man Falling to His Death (BOA Editions, Ltd.), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award in 2007; Trouble with the Machine (Low Fidelity Press); and Nietzsche's Horse (Mitki/Mitki Press). His work has appeared in numerous print and online journals and magazines, including Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Mississippi Review, Ninth Letter, and New York Tyrant. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.

Named for the great short story writer and poet who taught at SU in the 1980s, the Raymond Carver Reading Series is a vital part of Syracuse’s literary life. Presented by the Creative Writing Program in The College of Arts and Sciences, the series each year brings 12 to 14 prominent writers to campus to read their works and interact with students.
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Judy Holmes