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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

English

Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/andreas/guests_English.html
Guest Artists Department of English The Department of English, through the generosity of David and Lowell Andreas in honor of their wife and mother, hosted the following Artists in Residence from 2007-2014. Most included a public master class or public performance at Minnesota State Mankato.

 

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hass Robert Hass

Robert Hass is a poet of great eloquence, clarity, and force, whose work is rooted in the landscapes of his native Northern California. Widely read and much honored, he has brought the kind of energy in his poetry to his work as an essayist, translator, and activist on behalf of poetry, literacy, and the environment. Most notably, in his tenure as United States Poet Laureate, Robert Hass spent two years battling American illiteracy, armed with the mantra, "imagination makes communities." He crisscrossed the country speaking at Rotary Club meetings, raising money to organize conferences such as "Watershed," which brought together noted novelists, poets, and storytellers to talk about writing, nature, and community.

Robert Hass has published many books of poetry including Field Guide, Praise, Human Wishes, and Sun Under Wood, as well as a book of essays on poetry, Twentieth Century Pleasures. Hass translated many of the works of Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz, and he edited Selected Poems: 1954-1986 by Tomas Transtromer; The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa; Poet's Choice: Poems for Everyday Life; and Modernist Women Poets: An Anthology (with Paul Ebenkamp). He was the guest editor of the 2001 edition of Best American Poetry. His essay collection Now & Then was published in April 2007. His collection of poems entitled Time and Materials won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He’s been awarded the MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, twice the National Book Critics' Circle Award (in 1984 and 1997), the Yale Series of Younger Poets in 1973, and the 2014 Wallace Stevens Award. Robert Hass is a professor of English at UC Berkeley.

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orlean Susan Orlean

The New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean has been called “a national treasure” (Washington Post). Her deeply moving—and deeply humorous—explorations of American stories, both familiar and obscure, have earned her a reputation as one of America’s most distinctive journalistic voices. A staff writer for the New Yorker for over twenty years and a former contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Vogue, she has been praised as “an exceptional essayist” (Publisher’s Weekly) who “approaches her subjects with intense curiosity and fairness” (Bookmarks Magazine).

Susan Orlean is fascinated by tales of every stripe – her profiles and interviews for the New Yorker have covered such wide-ranging subjects as Jean Paul Gaultier’s design inspiration, urban chicken farming, the friends and neighbors of Tanya Harding, the contemporary painter responsible for capturing “the art in the Wonder Bread, ” and the World Taxidermy Championships. From the every day to the outlandish, she has an eye for the moving, the hilarious, and the surprising.

Orlean’s book, Rin Tin Tin, explores the life and legacy of the iconic German shepherd. In The Orchid Thief—the national bestseller that inspired the Academy Award-winning film Adaptation—Orlean delves into the life of John Laroche, a charismatic schemer once convicted of trying to steal endangered orchids from a state preserve in southern Florida. In a career spanning more than three decades, Orlean has also written for Outside, Esquire, The Boston Globe, and more. She is the author of several other books including Saturday Night, a portrait the varying experience of Saturday night in dozens of communities across the United States, of which Entertainment Weekly concluded, “I can’t think of a better way to spend Saturday night than staying home and reading this book.” She has served as an editor for Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing, and her journalism has been compiled into two collections: The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People and My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who’s Been Everywhere. Orlean’s work has inspired two successful films: Blue Crush, the story of young women surfing in Maui, and Adaptation, the metafilm directed by Spike Jonze. Meryl Streep, who portrayed Orlean in the film, was nominated for an Academy Award, as were costars Nicholas Cage and Chris Cooper and writer Charlie Kaufman.

Orlean lives in Los Angeles and upstate New York, where she is a parent, dog owner, gardener, and occasional teacher.

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barry Lynda Barry

Lynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator and teacher and found they are very much alike. She is the inimitable creator behind the seminal comic strip that was syndicated across North America in alternative weeklies for two decades, Ernie Pook's Comeek featuring the incomparable Marlys and Freddy, as well as the books One Hundred Demons, The Greatest of Marlys, Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel, Naked Ladies Naked Ladies Naked Ladies, and The Good Times are Killing Me which was adapted as an off-Broadway play and won the Washington State Governor's Award.

Her bestselling and acclaimed creative writing-how-to-graphic novel for Drawn & Quarterly, What It Is, won the Eisner Award for Best Reality Based Graphic Novel and R.R. Donnelly Award for highest literary achievement by a Wisconsin author. Barry’s prose novel, and the follow up and creative drawing companion to What It Is, is entitled Picture This: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book. Her most recent book is Syllabus: Notes From an Accidental Professor (October 2014). Syllabus further details Barry's inspiring writing method which focuses on the relationship between the hand, the brain, and spontaneous images, both written and visual.

Lynda Barry has received many awards for her work, including 2013 Lifetime Visual Arts Award, MOWA, Two William Eisner awards, The American Library Association’s Alex Award, The Wisconsin Library Association’s RR Donnelly Award, and Washington State Governor’s Award. She is currently Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Creativity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; she teaches writing and picture making and runs the Image Lab at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Her research centers on what the biological function of this thing we call ‘the arts’ may be, why children feel able to draw, write, dance, sing, and act, and adults do not, and why the longing to be able to do these things persists well after we have given up on the possibility of ever being able to do so. Because of this work, Barry recently received the Holtz Center for Science & Technology’s 2014-5 Outreach Fellowship.

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burt Stephen Burt

Stephen Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor with eight published books, including two critical books on poetry and three poetry collections. His essay collection Close Calls with Nonsense (Graywolf Press, 2009) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other works include Belmont (2013); The Art of the Sonnet (Harvard University Press, 2010); Something Understood: Essays and Poetry for Helen Vendler (University of Virginia Press, 2009); The Forms of Youth: Adolescence and 20th Century Poetry (Columbia University Press, 2007); Parallel Play: Poems (Graywolf, 2006); Randall Jarrell on W. H. Auden (University Press, 2005); Randall Jarrell and His Age (Columbia University Press, 2002); and Popular Music (Center for Literary Publishing, 1999).

Burt grew up around Washington, DC, and received an A.B. from Harvard in 1994 and a Ph.D. in English from Yale in 2000. He taught at Macalester College for several years before becoming a professor of English at Harvard University.

The New York Times called Burt “one of the most influential poetry critics of his generation.” His writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the Believer, and the Boston Review.

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percy Benjamin Percy

His fiction and nonfiction have been read on National Public Radio, performed at Symphony Space, and published by Esquire (where he is a contributing editor), GQ, Time, Men’s Journal, Outside, The Wall Street Journal and The Paris Review. His honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Whiting Writers’ Award, two Pushcart Prizes, the Plimpton Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories and Best American Comics. He is the writer-in-residence at St. Olaf College and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University. Full residence: Broadcast question and answer interview, talk on craft (primarily students), evening reading.

Website: http://www.benjaminpercy.com/

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elAlexander

Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher born in New York City and raised in Washington, DC. Alexander has degrees from Yale University and Boston University and completed her Ph.D. in English at the University of Pennsylvania. Most recently, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The poem has recently been published as a small book from Graywolf Press. In addition, she has published five books of poems:

Professor Alexander is the first recipient of the Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship for work that “contributes to improving race relations in American society and furthers the broad social goals of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954.” She is the 2007 winner of the first Jackson Prize for Poetry, awarded by Poets & Writers, Inc. Other awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, the George Kent Award, given by Gwendolyn Brooks, a Guggenheim fellowship as well as the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at University of Chicago. She is currently chair of the African American Studies Department at Yale University.

Full residence: Broadcast question and answer interview, talk on craft (primarily students), evening reading.

Website: http://www.elizabethalexander.net/home.html

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oldsSharon Olds

Sharon Olds is the author of eight volumes of poetry. Born in San Francisco, Sharon Olds studied at Stanford University and Columbia University. Her numerous honors include a National Endowment for the Arts grant; a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship; the San Francisco Poetry Center Award for her first collection, Satan Says; and the Lamont Poetry Selection and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for The Dead and the Living. Her other books of poetry are Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002; Blood, Tin, Straw; The Wellspring; The Father; and The Gold Cell. Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Named New York State Poet Laureate (1998 – 2000), Olds teaches graduate poetry workshops at New York University as well as the writing workshop she helped found at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely disabled. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science. Sharon Olds’ latest poetry collection is One Secret Thing. Her next collection is tentatively entitled Stags Leap: Poems 1997-2000. She lives in New York City.

“I think that my work is easy to understand because I am not a thinker. I am not a…How can I put it? I write the way I perceive, I guess. It’s not really simple, I don’t think, but it’s about ordinary things—feeling about things, about people. I’m not an intellectual. I’m not an abstract thinker. And I’m interested in ordinary life.” She added that she is “not asking a poem to carry a lot of rocks in its pockets. Just being an ordinary observer and liver and feeler and letting the experience get through you onto the notebook with the pen, through the arm, out of the body, onto the page, without distortion.”Full residence: Broadcast question and answer interview, talk on craft (primarily students), evening reading.

Website: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/sharon-olds

 

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leeLi-Young Lee

Li-Young Lee is the author of three critically acclaimed books of poetry, including Book of My Nights (BOA Editions, 2001). His earlier collections are Rose (BOA, 1986), winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University, The City in Which I Love You (BOA, 1991), the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and a memoir entitled The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (Simon and Schuster, 1995), which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. A new volume, Behind My Eyes, was published in January. Lee's honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 1988 he received the Writer's Award from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. He lives in Chicago with his wife Donna, and their two sons.
Website: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/li-young-lee

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forsRichard Ford

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford’s “sinewy and distinctively American voice contains the echoing tones of many ancestors” (New York Times): Mark Twain, Sherwood Anderson, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway are Ford’s literary ancestors critics often call to mind when discussing his work. Winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for his novel Independence Day, Ford also won the PEN/Faulkner Prize for that book—the first to receive both awards simultaneously. He is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2001 PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction and the 1995 Rea Award for the Short Story.
Website: http://www.richardfordbooks.com/home

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levinePhilip Levine

Philip Levine "is a large, ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland" who, according to Edward Hirsch in the New York Times Book Review, should be considered "one of [America's] . . . quintessentially urban poets." He was born in 1928 to Russian-Jewish immigrants, in Detroit, a city that inspired much of his writing. Author of 20 collections of poetry, his most recent is News Of The World (Knopf, 2009). The Simple Truth won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995. What Work Is won the National Book Award in 1991. David Baker writes, “What Work Is may be one of the most important books of poetry of our time. Poem after poem confronts the terribly damaged conditions of American labor, whose circumstance has perhaps never been more wrecked." Levine is known as the poet of the working class, and he remains dedicated to writing poetry "for people for whom there is no poetry.” He is also the recipient of the Ruth Lily prize. He divides his time between Brooklyn, NY, & Fresno, CA. Website: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/philip-levine

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saundersGeorge Saunders

George Saunders is the author of three collections of short stories: the bestselling Pastoralia, set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape; CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, a Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; and In Persuasion Nation, one of three finalists for the 2006 STORY Prize for best short story collection of the year. Pastoralia and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline were both New York Times Notable Books. Saunders is also the author of the novella-length illustrated fable, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, which takes us into a profoundly strange country called Inner Horner, and the New York Times bestselling children's book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, illustrated by Lane Smith, which has also won major children’s literature prizes in Italy and the Netherlands. The Boston Globe lauds Saunders’ ability to “construct a story of absurdist satire, then locate within it a moment of searing humanity." Saunders also published a book of essays, The Braindead Megaphone, in 2007.
Website: http://www.georgesaundersbooks.com

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daunticatEdwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti. Her parents having left for the U.S. when she was four, she was raised by her aunt under the dictatorial Duvalier regime. The family reunited in America when she was 12. Danticat is the author of several novels and books of stories, including Breath, Eyes, Memory and The Dew Breaker. She has published creative nonfiction as well, most notably Brother, I’m Dying, an account of the deaths of her father and her uncle, which was nominated for a National Book Award. Her latest book is a collection of essays, Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist At Work. She has received many awards for her work, including the 2011 Harold Washington Literary Award in Chicago and a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant in 2009. Danticat is currently working on a story collection tentatively titled Claire of the Sea-Light, which will be published by Knopf 2012. Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwidge_Danticat

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urreaLuis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea is a prolific and award-winning writer. He is a master of language and a gifted storyteller who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. The author of fourteen books, Luis Urrea has published extensively in many genres and has received many prestigious awards, including the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize, the Western States Book Award, the Lannan Literary Award, and the Edgar Award. The Devil’s Highway, his 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Collectively, Luis’ books have been chosen by more than thirty different cities and colleges across the country for One Book community read programs. Website: http://www.luisurrea.com

 

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JBaggottJulianna Baggott

Julianna Baggott is a novelist, essayist and poet who also writes under the pen names Bridget Asher and N.E. Bode. She is an associate professor at Florida State University's Creative Writing Program. Baggott has published eighteen books over the last twelve years. Her most recent novel Pure the first in a dystopian trilogy, was published by Grand Central Publishing;film rights have been acquired by Fox 2000. The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, published under pen name Asher, was published in spring of 2011. To date, there approximately fifty foreign editions of her novels.