Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs


News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

March 24, 2008

NIU will hosts three acclaimed poets
for April 4 readings, book signings

DeKalb, Ill. — Internationally acclaimed poet Lucien Stryk will return to his old stomping ground for an afternoon of poetry readings and discussion that also will feature Illinois' Poet Laureate Kevin Stein and NIU English Instructor John Bradley.

The English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) will host the event, titled “The Poet and His Craft,” from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, in the Clara Sperling Sky Room of the Holmes Student Center. Books by the three poets will be available for purchase, and a book signing will be held during a post-event reception.

“It's a great panel,” said Alisa Smith-Riel, EGSA president. “By bringing together these three well-known published poets, the event should have broad appeal. We expect a big turnout.”

A native of Chicago, Stryk is a celebrated Zen poet and former NIU English professor. He has written or edited more than two-dozen volumes of poetry, translations and edited collections, and his poetry has been translated into Japanese, Chinese, French, Spanish, Swedish and Italian.

Stryk served on the NIU faculty from 1958 until his retirement in 1991 and was recipient of both the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award and Presidential Research Professorship. He also taught at universities in Japan and was a Fulbright lecturer there and in Iran. Over the course of his career, Stryk has received numerous awards for his poetry and translations. He also is a much sought-after presenter.

Stein is a professor of English at Bradley University. In 2003, he was named Illinois Poet Laureate (see http://poetlaureate.il.gov/ ), following in a distinguished line that has included Carl Sandburg, Howard Austin and Gwendolyn Brooks. The title is one of many honors and accolades Stein has earned during his career as poet, critic, editor and teacher. He is author of seven poetry collections, two scholarly books, two poetry anthologies and many poems and essays. Additionally, he has pursued a scholarly career as literary critic.

Bradley has been teaching composition and a variety of other courses at NIU since 1992. Last year, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him with a 2007 Literature Fellowship in Poetry. The award capped a string of successes for Bradley that also included a prestigious 2007 Pushcart Prize for his poetry. A year earlier he had two books published: “Terrestrial Music” and “War on Words.” Bradley also has been the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council grant and a previous NEA Fellowship in Poetry.

—30—