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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

SU Humanities Center, YMCA explore 'Identity' with readings at new Downtown Writer's Center Oct. 27

Guest poets Cornelius Eady, Dorianne Laux have ties to region

Oct. 20, 2011, by Rob Enslin

Cornelius Eady
Cornelius Eady
The Syracuse University Humanities Center is helping the YMCA Arts Branch mark the 10th anniversary of its Downtown Writer’s Center with a special event in the DWC’s new facility. The celebration, part of the Humanities Center’s fall exploration of “Identity,” includes readings by award-winning poets Cornelius Eady and Dorianne Laux on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. in the newly constructed DWC, located on the bottom floor of the Downtown Syracuse YMCA (340 Montgomery St.). The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 315-443-5708.

Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and director of both the SU Humanities Center and Central New York Humanities Corridor, is excited about the collaboration.

“We are honored to mark a new chapter in the life of the public humanities,” says Lambert. “This event bears witness to not only the importance of the literary arts throughout Central New York, but also the impact they have on perceptions of individual and social identity.”

The SU Humanities Center organizes and presents the “Identity” series for The College of Arts and Sciences and for the Syracuse community.

The event, also part of the DWC’s popular Visiting Author Reading Series, features two poets who are no strangers to the region. Born and raised in Rochester, N.Y., Eady holds the Miller Family Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is the author of eight books of poems, the most recent being “Hardheaded Weather” (Putnam Press, 2008), which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Eady is also known for “Brutal Imagination,” whose stage version won the 2002 Oppenheimer Award, and “Running Man,” which was a finalist for the 1999 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and was the winner of that year’s Obie Award. With poet Toi Derricote, he co-founded Cave Canem, a national organization that cultivates artistic and professional growth among African American poets. Much of his work revolves around issues of race and society, with emphasis on music, family life and violence.
Dorianne Laux
Dorianne Laux
Laux serves as professor of English at North Carolina State University. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including “The Book of Men” (W.W. Norton and Co., 2011); “Facts About the Moon” (W.W. Norton and Co., 2005), winner of the Oregon Book Award and a finalist for the Academy’s Leonore Marshall Prize; and “What We Carry” (BOA Editions, 1994), a finalist for the National Book Award. She credits Rochester-based BOA for jump-starting her career in 1990, with the publication of her first book, “Awake,” which was nominated for the San Francisco Bay Area Book Critics Award for Poetry. Her free-verse poems are generally described as “sensual and grounded,” revealing the poet as a “compassionate witness to the everyday.”

The DWC is Central New York’s only community center for the literary arts, and is a leading member of the YMCA National Writer’s Voice network of literary arts programs. DWC activities include the Visiting Author Reading Series; creative writing workshops; DWC PRO, a two-year program for serious poets and fiction writers; the Poet’s Room browsing library; and the DWC Poetry Broadside Series, which partners with Boxcar Press to create and print artistic renditions of poems by visiting authors. The DWC was founded by Phil Memmer, director of the Y Arts Branch, associate editor of Tiger Bark Press and an award-winning poet.

The SU Humanities Center, founded in 2008, fosters public engagement in the humanities, and is home to The Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor; The Mellon Visiting Collaborator and Jeanette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professorship programs; the HC Mini-Seminar and Syracuse Symposium Seminar series; and other research initiatives, annual fellowships and public programming.