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Illinois' Poet Laureate Kevin Stein at WIU September 15

August 29, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - Kevin Stein, IllinoisÂ’ Poet Laureate, will visit Western Illinois University Thursday, Sept. 15 to meet with students and to present a public reading of his poetry and a book signing.

SteinÂ’s visit, co-sponsored by WesternÂ’s English and journalism department and Tri-States Audio Information ServicesÂ’ Radio Information Service (RIS), will include instruction time with students in a general education introduction to poetry class in the afternoon, followed by a 7 p.m. lecture and reading in the Tri States Public Radio Performance Studio, located at 320 W. University Drive on WesternÂ’s campus, off of Rt. 67. A book signing and reception will follow at the studio.

The evening reading is open free to the public; however, seating is limited and reservations are suggested. Contact the Radio Information Service at 309/298-2403 to reserve a seat.

In December 2003, Governor Rod Blagojevich named Stein IllinoisÂ’ Poet Laureate, filling the position previously held by Gwendolyn Brooks, Carl Sandburg and Howard Austin. The ceremonial title is among many honors and accolades the Bradley University Caterpillar Professor of English and creative writing program director has earned throughout his career.

“The Department of English and Journalism is proud to co-sponsor Kevin Stein’s visit, and we are especially grateful to him for spending time with some of our students to discuss his poetry. His visit provides a unique opportunity to the WIU community to meet an important Illinois writer,” said English Chair David Boocker.

Widely acclaimed by reviewers, Stein is the author of six poetry collections, three scholarly books and numerous published poems in prestigious journals and anthologies. His newest collection, “American Ghost Roses,” was released this past April by the University of Illinois Press, which also published Stein’s volumes “Chance Ransom” (2000) and “Bruised Paradise” (1996).

“We look forward to introducing Illinois’ ‘ambassador for poetry’ to our community,” said Tri-States Audio Information Services Director Carol Dennhardt. “His accomplishments are noteworthy; and his lecture, combined with a reading, will be an educational experience for not only poetry lovers, but for anyone who appreciates creative writing.”

Stein has been awarded “Poetry’s” Frederick Bock Prize (1987), the “IndianaReview” Poetry Prize (1998), the Devins Award for Poetry (1992) for his collection “A Circus of Want” and three Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards. He has received the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship and three fellowships granted by the Illinois Arts Council, as well as grant support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2004 Stein was awarded the Vernon Louis Parrington Medal for Distinguished Writing. His poems and essays have appeared widely in journals such as “American Poetry Review,” “Boulevard,” “The Kenyon Review,” “ Poetry,” ”Southern Review” and “TriQuarterly.”

Also a noted scholarly literacy critic, Stein’s work “Private Poets, Worldly Acts,” which examines the public and private lives of nine American poets, was named a 1997 Recommended Book by; and his work “James Wright: The Poetry of a Grown Man” remains the benchmark study of this American poet.

Stein, the recipient of the Bradley Faculty Member of the Year and the Samuel Rothberg Award for Professional Excellence, also is co-editor of “Illinois Voices: An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Poetry.”

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