February 3, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass. - The Amherst College English Department and the Center for Creative Writing announce a series of readings in February and March. The readings, in the Babbott Room of the Octagon at 5 p.m., are free and open to the public, and will be followed by refreshments. For more information, see the Creative Writing Center Website or call 413/542-8200.

On Thursday, Feb. 6, poet Daniel Hall, whom James Merrill called "a patient craftsman, a weigher of each word," and whom Booklist has described as "a virtuoso craftsman," will read. Hall is the author of two collections, Hermit with Landscape and Strange Relation. His poems, memoirs and book reviews have been published in the National Poetry Series, the Yale Review, Verse and Parnassus. Hall has received numerous awards and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Whiting Foundation, among others. Hall, who has taught poetry at Amherst College since 2000, was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2003.

Author David Anthony Durham will read on Tuesday, Feb. 18 in the Bruss Room in Johnson Chapel. After the publication of Gabriel?s Story, his historical novel about race and the post-Civil War American West, Publishers Weekly called Durham a "born storyteller." The winner of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright prize for a short story "Boy-Fish," Durham has also written another acclaimed novel, Walk Through Darkness, about a runaway slave. He currently lives with his family in rural Scotland, where he is at work on a third novel.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, poet Mart? Espada will read. Yusef Komunyakaa described Espada?s most recent collection, A Mayan Astronomer in Hell?s Kitchen, as "recalibrat[ing] history till a scary clarity stares us in the eye." Espada has published his poetry in a number of collections, anthologies and publications, including the Massachusetts Review, The Nation and Diario Latino. Espada is also an essayist, translator, editor and professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

On Thursday, Feb. 27, author Sabina Murray will read. In a review of Caprices, Murray's recent collection of short stories, The New York TimesSlow Burn. Her screenplay, Beautiful Country, is currently in production. Her soon-to-be-finished novel, A Carnivore?s Inquiry, looks at exploration, art and cannibalism. Murray teaches at Phillips Academy, Andover. said that "... what she delivers can achieve a prophetic resonance." Claire Messud called the stories "dark and unflinching." Murray has also published essays, poetry and a novel,

On Monday, March 3, poet Gray Jacobik, recipient of the Yeats Prize, a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous other awards for her volumes of poetry, will read. Her most recent book, Brave Disguises, was awarded the 2001 AWP Poetry Series Award. Judging poet Marilyn Chin praised the book's "delightful lush content," and Robert Cording remarked that 'at the center of these poems is a writer who is willing to open herself fully to the world's and living's beautiful strangeness and capricious painfulness." Jacobik is a professor of English and poet-in-residence at Eastern Connecticut State University.

On Thursday, March 6, novelist Brian Kiteley will read. On NPR's "Morning Edition," Rod MacLeish praised Kiteley's first novel, Still Life With Insects, for its true novelty, and said that "with a skill that any writer worth his salt will envy, Brian Kiteley manages to bring his people to brilliant, eccentric life." Kiteley has also written a second novel, I Know Many Songs, But I Cannot Sing, as well as a book of fiction exercises, Each Sentence Educates the Next. He is currently completing The River Gods, a historical novel about Northampton, Mass. Kiteley is an associate professor of English at the University of Denver.