PLYMOUTH — Mark Wunderlich, winner of the 2015 University of Northern Texas' Rilke Prize for his third poetry collection, The Earth Avails, will read at Plymouth State University at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 2, as a guest of the Eagle Pond Authors' Series.
The Rilke Prize recognizes a book that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision, written by a mid-career poet and published in the preceding year. Publishers Weekly said of The Earth Avails,"Wunderlich became known for warm, urbane poems. Here he switches his stylistic allegiance to plain-spokenness, to the speech of the hills and plains, striking a hard-to-match tone of gentle humility, expanding his poetic powers."
Wunderlich's first book The Anchorage received the Lambda Literary Award. Mark Doty (a previous Eagle Pond Series reader) called Wunderlich's second book, Voluntary Servitude, " ... a bold, memorable accomplishment."
Wunderlich grew up in a rural setting near Fountain City, Wisconsin. He attended Concordia College's Institute for German Studies, before transferring to the University of Wisconsin to study English and German literature. After moving to New York City, he earned a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University. His credits include the Wallace Stegner Fellowship, the Writers at Work Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass. He has also received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont and the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough.
Wunderlich has taught at Stanford University and Barnard College, and in the graduate writing programs at Sarah Lawrence College, San Francisco State University, Ohio University and Columbia University. He is professor of literature at Bennington College and director of Poetry at Bennington, a series of on-campus readings, lectures and short residencies by prominent poets.
Before an advanced poetry workshop at The Loft Literary Center, writer Lindsey Giaquinto asked Wunderlich how poets "compress so much emotional complexity into the space of a poem." Wunderlich responded, " I don't really see what I am doing as compression, but rather a kind of linguistic archeology. Every word we use has been used countless times, and the poet's job is to uncover those uses and meanings and add new life to the language. I'm not compressing so much as revealing."
Free tickets for the Eagle Pond Authors Series are available at the Silver Center Box Office (603) 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869, and are highly recommended. The series is presented with generous support from the Follett Higher Education Group (PSU Bookstore).
Now in its 17th year, the Eagle Pond Authors' Series is a tribute to Donald Hall, one of the nation's most beloved poets and authors. Hall remains the heart and soul of this series and is instrumental in bringing nationally and internationally revered poets to the PSU campus.
Hall will be on hand to introduce Wunderlich, and both will stay after the reading for an author's reception and book signing.