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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Raymond Carver Reading Series presents award-winning poet, alumnus

Iain Haley Pollock G'07 won the 2010 Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Oct. 5, 2011, by Judy Holmes

Iain Haley Pollock
Iain Haley Pollock
The Fall 2011 Raymond Carver Reading Series will continue with a reading by Cave Canem Poetry Prize winner Iain Haley Pollock G’07, a graduate of the Creative Writing Program in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. The reading will begin at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 19 in Huntington Beard Crouse (HBC) Gifford Auditorium on the SU campus. A question and answer session from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. will precede the reading. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in SU’s paid lots.

Pollock, who teaches English at Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, was awarded the 2010 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for his manuscript, Spit Back a Boy (University of Georgia Press, 2011). A Cave Canem Fellow, Pollock’s poems have appeared in AGNI, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Callaloo, and Indiana Review. The Cave Canem Poetry Prize is an annual, first-book award dedicated to the discovery of exceptional manuscripts by African American poets.  Founded in 1996, Cave Canem is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.

According to the publisher’s description, the poems woven into Spit Back a Boy tell such varied stories as those of a woman late to catfish supper to an ancient queen who howls, “Sea, you is ugly,” of creaking of slave ships launched from Lancaster to stories of gunfire on a contemporary Philadelphia street. In one story line, a boy with a black mother and white father wishes he could shed his white skin or carve into what lies beneath: “I flung my almost white self / into my mother’s embrace—that brown / embrace I hoped would swallow me whole / and spit back a boy four shades darker.” Punctuated with lives that end early, Pollock’s collection earns its vitality and romance without closing its eyes to violence and sorrow.
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.

Fall 2011 Series Schedule
The Series will continue with the following authors. All readings begin at 5:30 p.m. in HBC Gifford Auditorium. Question and Answer sessions are from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. Further information is available by calling (315) 443-2174.

Oct. 26:  Terese Svoboda, author of 13 books, the latest of which is Bohemian Girl (Bison Books, 2011), a cross between True Grit and Huckleberry Finn.
Nov. 9:  Jennifer Grotz, author of two books of poetry, The Needle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) and Cusp (2003).
Nov. 30: Peter Balakian, author of many books, including six books of poems, the most recent Ziggurat (University of Chicago Press, 2010).
Dec. 7:  Christopher Kennedy, professor, and author of four poetry collections, including his most recent, Ennui Prophet (BOA Editions Ltd., 2011).