Lawrence University will host a poetry reading for award-winning California poet Gillian Conoley Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Science Hall 102. A reception and book signing will follow the reading, which is free and open to the public.
The author of six books of poetry, Conoley’s latest collection of poems, “Profane Halo,” was released earlier this month. Post-allegorical, post-apocalyptic and post-Christian, “Profane Halo” continues Conoley’s earlier exploration of questions of grace and redemption, language and being and death in life.
Other collections of Conoley’s work include 2001’s “Lovers in the Used World,” a finalist for the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award, “Tall Stranger,” which was nominated for the 1991 National Book Critics’ Circle Award, “Beckon” (1996) and “Some Gangster Pain,” which earned her co-winner honors of the 1987 Great Lakes Colleges New Writer Award. Her chapbook, “Fatherless Afternoon,” also was published earlier this year.
“Gillian Conoley’s work has something to offer every reader,” said Faith Barrett, assistant professor of English. “Her early poems are narrative in structure and form but in her two most recent collections, she has pushed in an increasingly innovative direction, drawing on the discourses of film, television, philosophy and politics.
“Her most recent collection, ‘Profane Halo,’ is a kind of meditation on American identity in the aftermath of September 11th,” Barrett added. “In her syntactic and linguistic experiments, Conoley reaches for a language that can evoke the horrors of that event and the challenges of living with a burdened memory.”
The founder and editor of “Volt,” an influential poetry journal, Conoley was awarded the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from The American Poetry Review in 2000 and has been the recipient of several Pushcart Prizes, which honors distinguished short stories, essays and poetry that are first published by small press houses.
Conoley is a professor of English and poet-in-residence at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif. She has also taught as a visiting poet at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the University of Denver, Vermont College and Tulane University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Southern Methodist University and a master of fine arts degree in poetry at the University of Massachusetts.
Conoley’s appearance is supported by the Mia T. Paul Poetry Fund. Established in 1998, the endowed fund brings distinguished poets to campus for public readings and to work with students on writing poetry and verse.