Poetry-in-the-Round ‘shapes up’ campus culture

Dr. Nathan M. Oates, assistant professor in the Department of English, is the new director of the Poetry-in-the-Round program. Poetry-in-the-Round invites compelling and renowned writers to Seton Hall University each year to read and discuss their works with students and community members.

When asked about the series, Oates had only positive remarks about the program and its former director, Dr. John Wargacki. Oates acknowledged Wargacki’s high reputation and said he hopes to continue the success of the program.

“Poetry-in-the-Round is a well-known and well-regarded reading series, something for which Seton Hall University is known in the wider literary and academic world,” Oates said.

“Dr. Wargacki maintained that tradition of excellence and I hope to live up to that standard by bringing established and rising literary writers who will connect the students and community of Seton Hall to the engaging world of contemporary writing,” he said.

A past attendee and participant, Oates has had many prior experiences with Poetry-in-the-Round. He described the program as an opportunity that provides and connects students and faculty to the living literary arts.

According to Oates, one of his main goals, aside from maintaining the program’s reputation, is to take advantage of Seton Hall’s location.

“Seton Hall’s proximity to New York City is a great resource for this reading program,” Oates said.

“The city is home to many of the writers we are bringing to campus this year and is an almost endless source of literary talent, with writers as established as Deborah Eisenberg, widely regarded as one of the masters of the short story, and many up-and-coming writers,” he said.

Oates also discussed the confirmed artists for this year’s Poetry-in-the-Round. The program has already hosted poet Jeffery Harrison, author of “Feeding the Fire,” on Sept. 30.

E.L. Doctorow and Major Jackson will be featured in the coming weeks.

Doctorow will be the featured writer for Poetry-in-the-Round on Oct. 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Jubilee Hall Auditorium.

Doctorow’s work has been published in 32 languages and his novels include “The March,” “City of God,” “Welcome to Hard Times,” “The Waterworks” and most recently, “Homer and Langley.”

“E.L. Doctorow is one of the most esteemed and, to my mind, important contemporary fiction writers,” Oates said.

“He is a writer whose lineage can be drawn back through American literary history to Emerson, Hawthorne and Melville, writers beside whom his work stands. His work contains the echoes of America’s past, present and which will be read long into the future,” he said.

On Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Walsh Library, the program will feature Major Jackson, who has authored three collections of poetry: “Holding Company,” “Hoops” and “Leaving Saturn.”

Also coming to Poetry-in-the-Round this spring will be novelist David Gates, poet Cathy Park Hong, and short-story author Deborah Eisenberg.

All events begin at 7 p.m. and are free of charge. Poetry-in-the-Round is part of the Seton Hall Arts Council.

For more information and a list of upcoming events, call (973) 313-6338 or send an e-mail to artscouncil@shu.edu.

Catherine Chidiac can be reached at catherine.chidiac@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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