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Award-Winning Poet Gibson to Give Three Readings at Mercer

January 19, 2007

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037
(800) 837-2911, ext. 4037

MACON – Awarding-winning poet Margaret Gibson, the 2007 Ferrol A. Sams, Jr. Distinguished Chair of English at Mercer University, will give three public readings of her work. All of the programs will be at 7 p.m.
She will read selected pieces from her recent collections of poems on Thursday, Jan. 25, and from her soon-to-be published memoir, The Prodigal Daughter, on Monday, Feb. 12 in Fickling Hall of the McCorkle Music Building on Mercer’s Macon campus. There also will be a dramatic reading of The Vigil: A Poem in Four Voices her book-length poem featuring the voices of four different women, on Monday, Feb. 26, at the Backdoor Theatre on the Macon campus.

The programs are free of charge and open to the general public.

“Margaret Gibson’s has remarkable range and accessibility,” said Gordon Johnston, associate professor of English at Mercer and organizer of Gibson’s visit. “She has reinvented her poetic voice in each of her books. In Memories of the Future, she speaks in the voice of Mexican actress, activist, and photographer Tina Modotti. In The Vigil, she becomes by turns an anagama potter, a mother haunted by the death of her only son, and a teenaged girl who is emotionally adrift after discovering who her real mother is. These readings offer Macon an opportunity to hear one of the most original voices in American letters.” 

Margaret Gibson is the author of eight books of poetry: Autumn Grasses, 2003; Icon and Evidence, 2001; Earth Elegy: New and Selected Poems, 1997; The Vigil: A Poem in Four Voices a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry, 1993; Out in the Open, 1989; Memories of the Future: The Daybooks of Tina Modotti, winner of the Melville Cane Award of the Poetry Society of America in 1986-87, 1986; Long Walks in the Afternoon, a Lamont Selection for 1982, and Signs, 1979, all from LSU Press. The title poem from Earth Elegy won the James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry. Gibson has also won two Pushcart Prizes

She has been a recipient of various grants, including the National Endowment for the Arts Grant and the Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Fellowship. Individual poems have won numerous awards, such as the James Boatwright Prize, the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Poetry Prize (honorable mention).

She has taught in the master of fine arts programs at the University of Massachusetts, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Connecticut.

About the Ferrol A. Sams Jr. Distinguished Chair of English:
Established in 1993, the Ferrol A. Sams, Jr. Distinguished Chair of English brings a nationally prominent fiction writer, poet or dramatist to Mercer each spring to teach creative writing and highlight the literary arts.  Made possible by a major grant from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, this endowed chair honors Dr. Ferrol A. Sams, Jr., a physician, author and distinguished alumnus of the College of Liberal Arts, whose many works include Run with the Horsemen and The Whisper of the River.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; teaching hospitals in Macon and Savannah; an educational partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit