PLYMOUTH — The Eagle Pond Authors' Series at Plymouth State University will host a reading by award-winning American poet Ellen Bryant Voigt on Thursday, February 26 at 7 p.m. in the Smith Recital Hall at the Silver Center for the Arts.
Among her many honors, Voigt served as the Vermont State Poet from 1999-2003 and in 2003 was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She has published eight volumes of poetry and a collection of craft essays. Her poetry collection, Shadow of Heaven was a finalist for the National Book Award, and another, Kyrie: Poems, a book-length sonnet sequence, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. As a poet and teacher Voigt is known for clarity and rhetorical authority.
Raised on a farm in Virginia, as a child Voigt showed an aptitude for music. She began a degree in music at Converse College, but changed her studies to literature and poetry after a friend introduced her to poems by e.e.cummings and Rilke. Even so, she says that music influences her writing. In an interview for Vermont Public Radio Voigt said, "I primarily write by my ear. I write by sound first, and then I have to go back and ... press on every word and figure out the structure of what is being said rather than how it's being said, but there's no question to me that sound is the generative force..."
Voigt alluded to that theme in an interview by Maria Hummel about her book, Headwaters, when she said, "What I have always loved about poetry is its two rhythmic systems—the rhythm of the sentence, which is the given, how we think, how me make meaning; and the rhythm of the poetic line, which is wholly artifice, made by the poet every time, in every poem, in every line—and the relationship between them."
In 1976 Voigt developed and directed the nation's first low-residency writing program at Goddard College in Vermont—a design for graduate MFA study that has since been emulated by many other colleges and universities. Since 1981 she has taught in the MFA program for writers at Warren Wilson College.
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).