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Poet to read from his works at PSU

November 02, 2006 12:00AM

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Poet David Lee will read from his works at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, in 109 Grubbs Hall on the Pittsburg State University campus. Lee is the second writer in the 2006-2007 PSU Distinguished Visiting Writers Series. The reading is free and open to the public.

At 11 a.m. that day, Lee will visit with students in a class in 303 Grubbs Hall. That is also open to the public.

Lee, named Utah's first poet laureate, is well known for his 1974 book, "The Porcine Legacy," which he followed up a decade later with "The Porcine Canticles."

A former chairman of the Department of Language and Literature at Southern Utah University, Lee has said, "Poetry is not a spectator sport. It cannot work unless we have active engagement between the poet, the poem and the reader. All three are equally responsible for what is going to happen inside the poem."

Lee has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and is the recipient of the Utah Governor's Award for lifetime achievement in the arts. He has published more than a dozen titles, most recently "So Quietly the Earth," "News from Down to the Caf?: New Poems," and "A Legacy of Shadows: Selected Poems."

Lee's background may be unusual for a poet. He studied to be a minister, was a boxer, is a decorated Army veteran, and played semiprofessional baseball as the only white player to ever play for the Negro League Post Texas Blue Stars. Lee has raised hogs and labored in a cotton mill, but ultimately labored in the fields of academia, specializing in the poetry of John Milton.

Speaking of how he creates voice in his poems, Lee said, "In a previous life, I was a ruminant. A ruminant has four stomachs. He chews and swallows a thing, and then he coughs it up, and he chews it again, and swallows it, and repeats this at least four times."

Lee is admired for his humor, his exceptional use of dialect and for charting the lives of ordinary people.

For more information, please contact the PSU Department of English at 620-235-4689.

©2006 Pittsburg State University