Inspiring Poet Returns for Education for Justice Lecture

Jan 3, 2011

        As part of its 2010 – 2011 Education for Justice theme of peace and reconciliation, The University of Scranton will welcome Carolyn Forché — an award-winning poet, essayist and human rights activist — for a lecture on Wednesday, Feb. 16. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall.

        No stranger to the University, Forché received an honorary degree following her inspiring speech at Scranton’s 2010 undergraduate commencement. She told graduates that they “have the potential to be noble of spirit” and that they may “become the most important generation that has ever lived.” At the ceremony, Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., president of The University of Scranton, said, “The witness of her words and example resonates with the University’s commitment to promote justice in the Jesuit tradition.”

        Titled “The Voice of Witness,” the lecture will focus on ways in which warfare, imprisonment and other forms of suffering are given voice by writers around the world.

        Forché has commented on some of the most devastating social events of the 20th century. Her first book of poetry, “Gathering the Tribes,” won the 1975 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Forché traveled as part of Amnesty International to El Salvador, where she witnessed a civil war — an experience that inspired her to write “The Country Between Us,” a book of poems that was named the 1981 Lamont Poetry Selection and became a rare poetry bestseller.

        A noted translator and a teacher of poetry and literature for 35 years, she holds and directs the Lannan Chair of Poetry and Poetics at Georgetown University. Forché has received three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship and other literary and teaching awards — including the Robert Creeley Award in 2005 and The Golden Rose from the New England Poetry Club in 2008. In 1998, she was presented the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation Award for Peace and Culture in Stockholm, Sweden, for her work on behalf of human rights and the preservation of memory and culture.

        The Education for Justice Office promotes justice throughout The University of Scranton community through various programs, lectures and activities. The office wishes to educate students on the importance of justice, so they may act ethically when faced with justice themes in the future.

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