Students to Carry Weight of Award-winning Words

Ackena Miller/ Contributing Writer

“I know they must carry the weight of their lives in the curl of their sullied and empty hands,”  wrote John Hodgen in his book, “In My Father’s House.”

Students will weigh and immerse their lives in the poetic words of Hodgen as part of the Barnes & Noble Writers On the Bay Reading Series tomorrow, Feb. 7 at the Barnes & Noble  bookstore at Biscayne Bay Campus at 8 p.m.

Hodgen is a winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Donald Hall Prize for poetry, 2008 Chad Walsh Prize in Poetry from Beloit Poetry Journal, and the Yankee Magazine Award for Poetry prize.

Some of his poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and he was a finalist in Houghton Mifflin’s New Poetry Series.

“John Hodgen is a significant voice in American poetry who has published a number of books,” said Julie Wade, assistant professor in the Department of English.

“Grace,” “In My Father’s House,” and “Heaven and Earth Holding Company” will be available in the bookstore for purchase before and after the reading and students can get their copies signed by Hodgen.

“The purpose of Writers on the Bay is to bring students, faculty, and members of the community into personal contact with writers and give them an opportunity to listen to quality literature read aloud and to interact with the makers of that literature directly,” said Wade.

Wade also discussed how it is important not to just recognize writers of the past but to also recognize authors who are living and producing literary works that provide just as much insight as to what literature is about.

“I know that when I first went to college, I couldn’t name any living writers.  I had only studied canonical literature by writers who had mostly lived and died long before I was born,” said Wade. “So for me, it was revelatory to realize that not only were there living writers of poetry and fiction and creative nonfiction but also that they sometimes traveled around and might come to my own university, where I could hear them read and ask them questions about their work.”

The reading provides students with insight on what it takes to become a great writer.

 “I think the reading series is invigorating for students who want to be writers and to learn more about what a writing life entails, but I think the series is enjoyable for anyone interested in literature or simply curious about contemporary creative voices.  There’s both entertainment and educational value implicit in these Writers on the Bay events.”