Academic Lecture Series–Favorite Authors

library shelvesA collaboration by the Brookdale Community College English faculty and Lifelong Learning – read all your favorite authors!

Poetry And Literary Parentage: Stephen Dunn – Sept 27

Laura McCullough, Professor of English

The much beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn’s work has been widely published in The Georgia Poetry Review, The New Yorker, and in many journals and magazines, and most recently, his 18th collection of poetry, Whereas. He is much loved by those he taught and mentored, some of whom have gone on to become publishing poets. The facilitator of this workshop was Dunn’s student at 18 and developed a lifelong and ongoing mentorship that led to friendship, and she has gone on to publish seven books of poems herself as well as editing a book on Dunn’s work, The Room and the World: Essays on Stephen Dunn. Dunn’s contribution to American letters will be explored, his influences, those he has influenced, and a few of his most famous poems will be discussed.


An Incendiary Voice: The Beauty and Power In The Poetry of Patricia Smith – Oct 4

Suzanne Parker, Associate Professor of English

Author Patricia Smith’s work has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” There is no contemporary poet writing the dramatic monologue today who is her equal. Her poems are accessible, powerful, and give voice to those who are often silenced or overlooked. Wide ranging in their craft, using both formal and free verse, her poetry is visceral and deeply affecting. We will explore her work and her evolution from a four-time poetry slam champion (a record untouched by any other) to her position today as an award-winning and internationally recognized poet who is influencing the next generations of writers.


Toni Morrison: Driven to Truth – Oct 11

Kathleen Kennedy, Associate Professor of English 

Nobel Prize-winning Toni Morrison creates worlds fraught with tension sparked by race, sex, social position, and always the needs and demands of love. Conveying both brutality and tenderness with prose that flows into poetry and drifts at times into magic realism, Morrison structures her novels to reflect the sometimes traumatized state of mind of her characters. She makes the strange familiar and the familiar vibrant with new meaning. In our discussion of Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Home and A Mercy, we will follow unforgettable characters driven by love and an insistence on truth as they find their way in worlds that are as inhospitable as they are beautiful.


Edgar Allan Poe: The Interchanging Darkness And Light Of The Human Mind, Heart, And Condition – Oct 18

Dara Evans, Associate Professor of English

Though difficult to pick my favorite author, I am ever delighted by the ways in which Edgar Allan Poe becomes a new one every time I read or teach his works. The malleable and mobile messages beneath his examination of the interchanging darkness and light of the human mind, heart, and condition are dependent on the reader, by his design. Join me in discussing the elements of gothic literature Poe used to force his audience to understand humanity and, therefore, discover themselves in The Raven, The Imp of the Perverse, The Cask of Amontillado, Never Bet the Devil Your Head, and Ligeia.


Through the Darkness: The Struggle and Strength of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Sylvia Plath – Nov 1

Kelsey Maki, Assistant Professor of English

Relegated to the background and confined by constructs of gender, women have faced some steep obstacles in their creative lives. In this session, we will examine the lives and works of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Sylvia Plath, two progressive women who raged against misogyny and mental illness, creating ground-breaking and genrebending works in the process.

Thurs, Sep 27-Nov 1, 11:45 am-1:15 pm (no class Oct 25)
Fee and Code: $79, XHUMN 273