Poet Gerald Vizenor Featured Speaker at Park University’s Ethnic Voices Poetry Series Event

Thursday, October 30, 2014

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Gerald VizenorAuthor Gerald Vizenor will be the featured poet in the next installment of Park University’s 2014-15 Ethnic Voices Poetry Series on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. Vizenor’s presentation will be held at The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, 100 W. 26th St., Kansas City, Mo. A cash reception will be held prior to the program at 6:30 p.m. and a book signing will follow the presentation. The event is free and open to the public.

Born in Minneapolis, Vizenor spent much of his childhood on the White Earth Nation Reservation in northern Minnesota, and he is a member of the White Earth Nation of Anishinaabe. He is the author of 40 published books including novels, short stories and poetry, one of which is a historical novel about Native Americans in World War I. Vizenor served in the U.S. Army in Japan during the reconstruction era following World War II. After the war, he used the GI Bill to study at New York University and completed post-graduate work at Harvard University and the University of Minnesota. He is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the American Book Award and PEN Oakland’s Josephine Miles Award. In addition, he served as a delegate and principal writer for the White Earth Reservation Constitutional Convention. Currently, Vizenor is professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Vizenor’s focus on two world wars in his poetry and fiction suggests an excellent intersection with The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, and its dedication to sharing the stories and honoring the history of the First World War, said Virginia Brackett, Ph.D., associate professor of English and director of the Honors Academy at Park.

The purpose of Park University’s Ethnic Voices Poetry Series, which started in 2007, is to expose individuals to artistic thought and expression that challenges preconceptions about those whose experiences and points of view differ from their own. Because all literature focuses on the human condition, a sharing of that literature promotes a sharing of ideas regarding the challenges, disappointments and celebrations of all people. In addition, literature supports the written and verbal expression of emotions that those activities promote. The EVPS is funded in part by a Missouri Arts Council grant, a state agency and division of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Poets in the 2014-15 Ethnic Voices Poetry Series will be interviewed before the audience by KCUR (89.3 FM) “New Letters on the Air” host Angela Elam. For those unable to attend the event, the interview will be edited for later broadcast on KCUR and www.newletters.org.

For more information about the Ethnic Voices Poetry Series, visit www.park.edu/ethnic-voices-poetry-series/ or contact Brackett at virginia.brackett@park.edu or (816) 584-6818.