William J. Harris

Colloquium celebrates English professor's contributions to poetry

Thu, 10/20/2011

Kenneth Irby

More Information

LAWRENCE — Poets and scholars from across the nation will come to the University of Kansas in November for the Eberhardt Colloquium in honor of a KU professor and poet.

The featured guests will examine the life and work of Kenneth Irby, associate professor in the Department of English, who is among the few recipients of the prestigious Shelley Memorial Award for poetry. The colloquium takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union.

The schedule is composed of lectures, panels and poetry readings that will celebrate Irby’s contribution to American literature. The colloquium will conclude with a poetry reading by Irby.

The presentations and speakers include:
• “We Might Say Poetry,” Lyn Hejinian, University of California-Berkeley, professor specializing in poetry, creative writing, 20th and 21st century American literature, and African-American literature;
• “Irby’s Very Own North Atlantic Turbine,” Pierre Joris, State University of New York-Albany, professor specializing in poetry and poetics, critical theory, comparative literature, translation studies, new media and performance studies, and creative writing;
•“The Walk to the Paradise Garden,” Ben Friedlander, University of Maine, associate professor specializing in poetry and poetics, 19th and 20th century American literature, and critical theory;
• “Sensory Typ/Topographies: Ken Irby’s Atlas to the World,” Denise Low, Haskell Indian Nations University, chair of English and former Kansas poet laureate;
• “Kansas &/or Oz, in the Poems of Kenneth Irby and Ronald Johnson,” Joe Harrington, University of Kansas, associate professor specializing in documentary poetry, poetry and poetics, cultural studies, political philosophy, mixed-genre writing, experimental nonfiction and U.S. literatures.

Irby is recognized as a major figure in contemporary poetry. He is a prolific poet who has published more than 20 books and collections of poems. One of his most recent books, “The Intent On,” is a collection of poems written over more than four decades, from 1962 to 2006. The colloquium comes in the same year Irby turns 75.

As a Shelley Memorial Award recipient, Irby is counted among rare company, including fellow recipients e.e. cummings, Marianne Moore, Robinson Jeffers, Robert Pinsky and Kimiko Hahn. Irby was selected for the award in 2010.

An issue of the online journal Jacket 2 will be devoted to the colloquium proceedings. It will also include other solicited essays, letters and critical remembrances. The issue will be edited by William J. Harris, associate professor of English at KU, and Kyle Waugh, co-editor of “The Intent On.”

The colloquium is free and open to the public. For further information, contact William J. Harris.

The event is sponsored by the Department of English, the Hall Center for the Humanities, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Spencer Museum of Art.

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