posted September 8, 2009

VWS to feature Gregory Orr on Sept. 17

The Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series of Hope College will feature poet Gregory Orr during the Fourth Annual Tom Andrews Memorial Reading on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Orr is the author of several books, including nine collections of poetry and a highly acclaimed collection of essays, "Poetry as Survival." His most recent volume, "How Beautiful the Beloved," contains short poems that are, according to "Publishers Weekly," "compact missives addressing in the most direct language possible many of humanity's most dire needs and fears."  Much of Orr's early work is concerned with seminal events from his childhood, including a hunting accident when he was 12 in which he accidentally shot and killed his younger brother.  He has received many awards and fellowships, including an Award in Literature from the AmericanAcademy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, and a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Institute for the Study of Culture and Violence.

He teaches at the University of Virginia, where he founded the MFA Program in Writing in 1975.

Every year one reading is done in honor of Tom Andrews (1961 - 2001), a 1984 Hope graduate who was born and grew up in West Virginia. Following Hope, he earned his M.F.A. at the University of Virginia. In his lifetime, Andrews published three books of poems and a memoir, "Codeine Diary," about his coming to terms with his hemophilia and his determined refusal to let it circumscribe his life. He also edited two collections of essays, "The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright" and "On William Stafford: The Worth of Local Things." In 2002, Oberlin College Press published "Random Symmetries: The Collected Poems of Tom Andrews," a posthumous volume comprised of two previously published books of poetry, "The Brother's Country" and "The Hemophiliac's Motorcycle," and other works.

The Hope College Jazz Ensemble will precede the reading at the Knickerbocker with a 6:30 p.m. performance.

Additional information may be obtained online by visiting www.hope.edu/vws.

The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St.