Monmouth University

Center for the Arts

Visiting Writers Series

The Visiting Writers Series was introduced to campus in 2005 as a way to connect students with contemporary authors whose works have significantly impacted the world of literature. Founded by Michael P. Thomas, poet and Associate Dean for the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities & Social Sciences, the Series has become a celebrated component of the University’s Center for the Arts.

In each installment of the Visiting Writers Series, students and faculty attend a lecture given by the author and are invited to participate in creative discussions and workshops. By fostering organic relationships between the University community and visiting authors, the Series promotes critical thinking and cultural diversity.

The series has included internationally and nationally renowned poets and fiction writers, including:

Joyce Carol Oates, winner of the National Book Award and author of over 40 novels

Mary Karr, bestselling author of The Liars Club and award-winning poet

Natasha Trethewey, Pulitzer Prize winner & Poet Laureate

Caryl Phillips Afro-Caribbean writer, essayist, novelist

Brian Turner, US Army Iraqi War Veteran Poet, author of the book, Here, Bullet

Robert Pinsky, former three-time United States Poet Laureate

Colm Toibin. Irish Novelist and author of the recent Broadway production, A Testament of Mary

Nick Flynn, memoirist and poet, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which became the film, Being Flynn, starring Robert DeNiro

Mary Gaitskill, novelist and short story writer, National Book Award finalist

Andrei Codrescu Romanian-born American poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for National Public Radio

Richard Blanco, Cuban-American poet, President Obama’s Inauguration poet

Louise Gluck, Pulitzer Prize winner and US Poet Laureate

Upcoming Events

Oct 4

4:30 PM
Pollak Theatre

Visiting Writers

Odie Lindsey

Odie Lindsey’s story collection, We Come to Our Senses (W.W. Norton), was included on Best Of lists at Electric Literature and Military Times, and the New York Times Book Review noted that it “captures our culture now.” Lindsey’s fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Iowa Review, Guernica, Fourteen Hills, Electric Literature, and in the anthology Forty Stories. He has received an NEA fellowship for veterans, a Tennessee Arts Commission fellowship in Literature, and a Tennessee Williams scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Lindsey’s essays have appeared in the Oxford American, Columbia, The Millions, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MA in southern studies from the University of Mississippi, and a combat badge c/o the U.S. Army. He is Professor of the Practice at the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, Vanderbilt University. Lindsey’s novel is forthcoming, also from W.W. Norton.

Free Event

Nov 13

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Michael Waters

Michael Waters has published twelve books of poetry, most recently The Dean of Discipline (U Pittsburgh P, 2018) and Celestial Joyride (BOA Editions, 2016). Darling Vulgarity (2006) was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize and Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems (2001) was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. He has co-edited several anthologies, including Reel Verse (Knopf, 2018), Contemporary American Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), and Perfect in Their Art (Southern Illinois UP, 2003). His poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Paris Review, Yale Review, Kenyon Review and The Progressive. A 2017 Guggenheim Fellow, he has been the recipient of five Pushcart Prizes, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright Foundation, and NJ State Council on the Arts, and residency fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, St. James Cavalier Centre (Malta), Tyrone Guthrie Centre (Ireland), and Chateau de Lavigny (Switzerland). Waters is Professor of English at Monmouth University.

Free Event

Mar 7

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017 (you cannot get it anymore and he is very sorry.) His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine. He is a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve Ewing.

Free Event

Apr 2

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Kevin Young

Kevin Young is the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and is widely regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation. Young is also poetry editor at The New Yorker.

Free Event

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Past Events

Free and Open to the Public

Apr 9 2018

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Marlon James

Marlon James was born in Jamaica in 1970. His recent novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, and the Minnesota Book Award.

Past Event

Mar 20 2018

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Eleanor Hooker & Clodagh Beresford Dunne

Clodagh Beresford Dunne was the recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland Emerging-Writer Award Bursary, 2016. Her poems have appeared in Irish and international print and online journals, including Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times, The Stinging Fly, Southword, The Moth, The Pickled Body, Spontaneity and Pittsburgh Poetry Review. Eleanor Hooker is a poet and writer. She lives in North Tipperary with her husband Peter, they have two sons. Her second collection of poems A Tug of Blue (Dedalus Press) was published October 2016.

Past Event

Oct 31 2017

4:30 PM
Pollak Theatre

Jewish Cultural Studies

Visiting Writers

Alicia Ostriker

Alicia Ostriker is a poet and critic, author of seventeen collections of poetry, most recently The Book of Seventy (winner of the National Jewish book Award), The Old Woman, the Tulip and the Dog, and Waiting for the Light. She has received the Paterson Poetry Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and has been twice nominated for the National Book Award, among other honors. As a critic she is the author of Stealing the Language; the Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America, and other books on poetry and on the Bible. She is distinguished Professor Emerita of Rutgers University, teaches in the low-residency Poetry MFA program at Drew university, and is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Past Event

Sep 19 2017

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Alena Graedon

Alena Graedon’s first novel, The Word Exchange, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Paperback Row pick, and selected as a best novel of 2014 by Kirkus. It has been translated into eight languages. She has twice been a MacDowell Colony Fellow (2012 and 2017), and has also received fellowships at Yaddo, Ucross, The Virginia Center for the Arts, The Vermont Studio Center, and Jentel. Her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times Book Review, newyorker.com, The Believer magazine, Guernica, and Post Road among other publications. A native of Durham, NC, Graedon is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University’s MFA program, and she is an Assistant Professor of English at Monmouth University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Past Event

Apr 4 2017

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Visiting Writers: Colm Toibin

Colm Toibin is the author of eight novels, including ‘The Master’ and ‘Brooklyn’, and two collections of stories. His play ‘The Testament of Mary’ was nominated for a Tony Award for best play in 2013. He is Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University.

Past Event

Mar 7 2017

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Visiting Writers: Liz Moore

Liz Moore is a writer of fiction and creative nonfiction.
Her first novel, The Words of Every Song (Broadway Books, 2007), centers on a fictional record company in New York City just after the turn of the millennium. It draws partly on Liz’s own experiences as a musician. It was selected for Borders’ Original Voices program and was given a starred review by Kirkus.Roddy Doyle wrote of it, “This is a remarkable novel, elegant, wise, and beautifully constructed. I loved the book.”

After the publication of her debut novel, Liz obtained her MFA in Fiction from Hunter College. In 2009, she was awarded the University of Pennsylvania’s ArtsEdge residency and moved to Philadelphia, where she still lives.

Past Event

Nov 1 2016

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Visiting Writers: Gerald Stern

Gerald Stern was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1925 and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University. He is the author of 16 books of poetry, including, most recently, Divine Nothingness (Norton, 2014) and In Beauty Bright (Norton, 2012), as well as This Time: New and Selected Poems, which won the 1998 National Book Award and a kind-of memoir of a year in 85 sections titled Stealing History, was published by Trinity University Press in the spring of 2012. Stern was awarded the 2005 Wallace Stevens Award by the Academy of American Poets, was the 2010 recipient of the Medal of Honor in Poetry by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he was inducted into the 2012 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was the 2012 recipient of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress. He was the 2014 winner of the Frost Medal. Stern has two books coming out in 2017, a poetry collection from W. W. Norton called Galaxy Love and a book of non-fiction titled Deathwatch, to be released by Trinity University Press.

Past Event

Sep 22 2016

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Visiting Writers: The Breakbeat Poets

Hip-Hop is the largest youth culture in the history of the planet rock. It has produced generations of artists who have revolutionized their genre(s) by applying the aesthetic innovations of the culture.

Past Event

Apr 19 2016

4:30 PM
Wilson Auditorium

Visiting Writers

Visiting Writer: Laura Kasischke

Laura Kasischke has published eight collections of poetry and eight novels. She was the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry for her collection SPACE, IN CHAINS (Copper Canyon Press, 2011). She has also been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rilke Award for Poetry, the Bess Hokin Award from POETRY magazine, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is teaches in the MFA Program and the Residential College at the University of Michigan, from which she graduated. She lives with her husband and son in Chelsea, Michigan.

Past Event

Apr 12 2016

7:30 PM
Pollak Theatre

Jewish Cultural Studies

Visiting Writers

Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy

Directed and produced by Haydn Reiss. Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy, the first feature documentary profile of the prolific and controversial poet and activist. Featuring Martin Sheen, Gary Snyder Mark Rylance, Jane Hirshfield, Philip Levine and many others from the world of art and literature. It is set for a PBS broadcast next year.

Past Event

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