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OCU Hosts Prize-Winning Poet

Ellen Bass
Ellen Bass

Oklahoma City University will host public presentations by celebrated poet Ellen Bass on April 1 for the 22nd annual Thatcher Hoffman Smith Poetry Series. There will be an informal reading and discussion with a book signing at 10 a.m., an open mic session for area poets at 7 p.m. and a formal reading and book signing at 8 p.m., all in the Meinders School of Business auditorium at N.W. 26th Street and McKinley Avenue.

A chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Bass has received many awards and recognitions for her work including a finalist designation for the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Publishers Triangle Award, the Milt Kessler Poetry Award, the Lambda Literary Award and the Northern California Book Award. She is the author of 10 books, including recent poetry titles “Like a Beggar” and “The Human Line” published by the Copper Canyon Press. Her latest book of poems, "Indigo," is slated for release this month. Special advance copies will be available for purchase at the event.

Bass grew up on the East Coast and now resides in Santa Cruz, California. She studied writing at Goucher College and Boston University. She is beloved as a teacher and is renowned in her poetry career. She travels the country to lead writing workshops and has founded poetry programs at Salinas Valley State Prison and the Santa Cruz jail.

Her poems have frequently appeared in The New Yorker and The American Poetry Review, as well as in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Sun and hundreds of other journals and anthologies.

“Ellen Bass has written these poems in service and celebration of Eros, the life force that can wake us, the weary citizens of this all too broken world,” described fellow poet Marie Howe. “The poems know what they contend with; they don’t flinch. Then they sing their joy.”

Bass’s works of nonfiction include the bestselling “The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse,” co-authored with Laura Davis (HarperCollins 1988, 20th anniversary edition 2008). Her other nonfiction titles include “Beginning to Heal: A First Book for Men and Women Who Were Sexually Abused as Children” (2003, revised edition 2008) and “Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth—and Their Allies” (HarperCollins, 1996), which she wrote with Kate Kaufman.

For more information about the poetry series events at OCU, visit the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature website at okcu.edu/film-lit.

Poetry by Ellen Bass

* “Like a Beggar” (Copper Canyon Press, 2014)

* “The Human Line” (Copper Canyon Press, 2007)

* “Mules of Love” (BOA Editions, 2002)

* “Our Stunning Harvest: Poems” (New Society Publishers, 1984)

* “Of Separateness & Merging” (Autumn Press, 1977)

* “I’m Not Your Laughing Daughter” (University of Massachusetts Press, 1973)