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James Wright: A Life in Poetry

December 4, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Jonathan Blunk. Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

Please join us to celebrate the publication of James Wright: A Life in Poetry, a sweeping new biography by Jonathan Blunk, and the 90th birthday of the late poet James Wright. The evening features a reading by Jonathan Blunk with a discussion facilitated by Michael Dennis Browne, remarks by Charles Baxter and Patricia Hampl, a very special announcement, and birthday cake.

Free & open to all. Reservations requested.

Online Reservations

Event Details

What: James Wright: A Life in Poetry, A Celebration
When: Monday, December 4, 2017 | 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Where: Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120 and Atrium

Author signing takes place after the program with books available for sale courtesy of University of Minnesota Bookstores.

Jonathan Blunk. Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey
Jonathan Blunk. Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

About the Author

Jonathan Blunk is a poet, critic, essayist, and radio producer. As the authorized biographer of James Wright, Blunk has worked extensively with the James Wright Papers at the University of Minnesota Libraries. Blunk’s work has appeared in The Nation, Poets & Writers, The Georgia Review and elsewhere. He assisted with editing A Wild Perfection, the selected letters of James Wright. Blunk lives in the Hudson Valley, outside Peekskill, New York.

About the Speakers

Michael Dennis Browne came to the United States in 1965 from England, where he was born, of mostly Irish ancestry, in 1940. After graduating from the University of Iowa, he taught at Iowa, Columbia, Bennington, and the University of Minnesota. He is now a professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, where he taught for 39 years, served a term as director of the creative writing program, and was a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He is also a distinguished librettist, working principally with composer Stephen Paulus. Browne’s papers are held at the University of Minnesota Libraries’ Upper Midwest Literary Archives.

Charles Baxter is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collections Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World. The stories “Bravery” and “Charity,” which appear in There’s Something I Want You to Do, were included in Best American Short Stories. Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Patricia Hampl is the author of numerous books, including A Romantic Education, The Florist’s Daughter (winner of the 2008 Minnesota Book Award for Memoir and Creative Nonfiction), Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime (2006), I Could Tell You Stories, Spillville, Virgin Time, A Romantic Education, and poetry collections Woman before an Aquarium, and Resort and Other Poems. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Bush Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the  MacArthur Foundation. Hampl is Regents Professor and McKnight Distinguished Professor at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, where she teaches in the MFA program of the English Department. Hampl’s papers are housed at the University of Minnesota’s Upper Midwest Literary Archives.

About the Collection

The James Wright Papers at the University of Minnesota Libraries is the principal repository for the work of poet James Wright. The collection contains manuscripts, journals, galleys, and extensive correspondence with writers such as Robert Bly, Anne Sexton, Leslie Silko, and many others.

The Upper Midwest Literary Archives (UMLA) preserves and provides access to the personal or organizational papers of authors, poets, critics, presses, and others whose work has been influenced by the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin).  From the papers of John Berryman and Carol Bly to the records of Graywolf Press and Milkweed Editions, the resources in the Upper Midwest Literary Archives are integral to the study of literary history, independent publishing, and writers of the prairie. As a public resource for students, scholars, and the general public, the UMLA is open to all.

The University of Minnesota Libraries’ Department of Archives and Special Collections (ASC) collects and preserves an amazing array of materials that support interdisciplinary research. The collections are available to anyone with a desire to explore, discover and learn. ASC supports teaching and learning for the University community, K-12, and lifelong learners, and sponsors an active program of exhibitions and programs that are open to the public.

Sponsored by University of Minnesota Libraries Archives & Special Collections. Co-Sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries, the Department of English, and the Creative Writing Program’s Edelstein-Keller endowment.


December 4, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120
222 21st Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN, 55455 United States
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Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries