By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Poet Susan B. Anthony Somers-Willett will give the Ninth Annual Drew Darrow Memorial Reading on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. in Bucknell Hall at Bucknell University.
The reading, which is open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Writing Center and the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell, with support from Drew Darrow's family and friends.
A poet, scholar, and performer, Somers-Willett is the author of two books of poetry: Quiver (VQR Series, University of Georgia Press, 2009) and Roam (Crab Orchard Award Series, SIU Press, 2006), and a book of scholarly criticism, The Cultural Politics of Slam Poetry: Race, Identity, and the Performance of Popular Verse in America (University of Michigan Press, 2009).
Her poems have appeared in many periodicals, including The Iowa Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast, Poets & Writers, and The New Yorker. She has been a contributing editor for RATTLE, a literary journal based in Los Angeles, and a former co-editor of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review.
Somers-Willett has received fellowships from the Millay Colony for the Arts and the Center for Arts in Society. Her honors include the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize, the Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award, VQR's Emily Clark Balch Poetry Prize, a Gracie Award and a Pushcart nomination.
Born in Ohio and raised in New Orleans, Somers-Willett received a B.A. from Duke University and worked briefly in the New York City publishing industry as a production manager, editor and designer. She went on to receive an M.A. in creative writing and a Ph.D. in American literature at the University of Texas at Austin.
An assistant professor of English and creative writing at Montclair State University, she has taught at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the Humanities.
'Women of Troy'
In 2009, Somers-Willett collaborated with photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally and radio producer Lu Olkowski to create "Women of Troy," which documented the effects of the economic crisis on women living below the poverty line in Troy, N.Y. The multimedia project combines poetry, photography and audio footage to create "documentary poems" for radio, the web, print and iPhone.
Somers-Willett's poems aired on the nationally distributed Public Radio International/WNYC program "Studio 360" with Kurt Andersen and on BBC Radio, and were published along with Kenneally's photographs in the Virginia Quarterly Review. "Women of Troy" has garnered a number of awards, including a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media in 2010.
The Drew Darrow Memorial Reading Series honors the memory of Drew Darrow, a 1986 Bucknell graduate. A student employee of Bucknell's Writing Center, Darrow later worked as an actor in New York City. He died in 1997.
For more information about this event, call the Writing Center at 570-577-3141.
Contact: Division of Communications