From Nov. 5 to Nov. 9, the Kenyon Review will be hosting its annual Literary Festival with the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement recipient and Ohio native, Rita Dove. Dove was appointed the U.S. Poet Laureate in 1992 and has received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Dove will be speaking on campus on the final day of the festival.
The first event on Monday at 4:10 p.m. in Finn House will be a panel of poets discussing Dove’s work. On the panel will be Hanif Abdurraqib, Eloisa Amezcua, Keith S. Wilson and Visiting Assistant Professor of English Andrew Grace ’01. The panel will be moderated by Associate Professor of English Jené Schoenfeld.
On Tuesday at 7 p.m., “The Music and Poetry of Sonata Mulattica” will be. in Brandi Recital Hall. The event will be celebrating Dove’s, “Sonata Mulattica,” a collection of poems about George Bridgetower, a biracial violinist who was friends with Beethoven, but died in anonymity.
“We will have students reading some of the poems from the book and we will have a recent alum, Alayne Wegner ’17, performing some of the music that Beethoven wrote for this guy,” said Tory Weber ’02, associate director of the Review.
Hilary Plum, author of the novel “Strawberry Fields,” which won the 2018 Fence Modern Prize in Prose, will be giving a reading on Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. in the Cheever Room of Finn House. Plum is a professor of creative writing at Cleveland State University. On Thursday, at the same time and place, Emily Fridlund will read some of her work. Fridlund’s debut novel, History of Wolves, was published in 2017 and shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. Both Plum and Fridlund have won the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) Award. “We try to partner with the GLCA to bring new writers around the same time as Lit Fest because it just seems like a great way to celebrate writers and literature,” said Weber.
The Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Lecture, “An Evening with Rita Dove,” will take place at 8 p.m. on Nov. 9. Dove, one of the most celebrated poets in the U.S., won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book of poems, Thomas and Beulah, and served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995. Not only was she the youngest to hold the latter position, but she was also the first African American to hold it. Dove, having grown up in Akron, Ohio, has an amount of celebrity especially apparent here in her home state. “We’ve had a bunch of events in the community,” Weber said, “We’ve had discussions at the public library and Paragraphs Bookstore and it’s great to see that a lot of community members have come out to talk about her poetry.” In addition, on the afternoon of Nov. 9, there will be a selection of literary magazines and small press books for sale outside the Kenyon Bookstore.