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    University Remembers Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet

    Members of the public and University community can read the work of American poet Mary Oliver at an “open reading” Tuesday, April 23, at 5:15 p.m. at the flag pole terrace on The University of Scranton’s Commons. The event will celebrate the work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who passed away in January. Pictured are Oliver and University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., who served as the president of Marquette University at the time in which she received an honorary degree from Marquette.
    April 16, 2019

    “When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
    I was a bride married to amazement.
    I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”

                “When Death Comes” by Mary Oliver

    The work of well-known, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Mary Oliver, who passed away in January, 2019, will be celebrated at an “open reading” Tuesday, April 23, at 5:15 p.m. at the flag pole terrace on The University of Scranton’s Commons.

    At the event, University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., will read selections of poems by Oliver, as will Joe Kraus, Ph.D., professor and chair of the English and Theatre Department at the University. The event will include an open microphone portion of the program to allow members of the University community and the general public to read a selection of her poems that are meaningful to them.

    The popularity of Oliver’s poems extended beyond English academics to the general masses because of their universal themes, astute perception and simple, lyrical style, according to Dr. Kraus.

    An example of the profound meaning expressed in her uncomplicated style and can be found in her poem “Sometimes:”

    “Instructions for living a life.
    Pay attention. 
    Be astonished. 
    Tell about it.” 

    Another example is from her poem “Lead:”

    “I tell you this
    to break your heart,
    by which I mean only
    that it break open and never close again
    to the rest of the world.” 

    A prolific writer, Oliver published a new collection of poems nearly every year following her 1963 book “No Voyage and Other Poems.” She received the Pulitzer Prize for her 1983 collection “American Primitive” and the National Book Award for poetry for her 1992 work “New and Selected Poems.” She received an honorary degree from Marquette University in 2012 during Father Pilarz’s tenure as president of the Jesuit school.

    Books of her poems are available at the University’s Weinberg Memorial Library, and her poetry is well represented on-line. The organizers of the event invite the public and university community members to explore her work and bring poems or excerpts of poems to read aloud.

    Ice cream will also be served at the event, which is offered free of charge and open to the public. For additional information, contact the University’s English and Theatre Department at 570-931-6331 or email bianca.sabia@scranton.edu.

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