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Released October 29, 2004

SOUTHERN MISS CENTER FOR WRITERS HOSTS
PRIZE-WINNING POET STEPHEN DOBYNS
HATTIESBURG--The University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers will host award-winning poet Stephen Dobyns for three days, Nov. 4-6, as part of its Visiting Writers Series. Dobyns, who has published 10 books of poetry and 20 novels, and who has won the National Poetry Series, the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets, the Melville Cane Award, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, will give a public reading Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Ogletree Alumni House on Southern Miss' Hattiesburg campus.

Dobyns, who teaches at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, including "Pallbearers"; "Common Carnage"; "Black Dog"; "Red Dog"; and "Velocities: New and Selected Poems." He has also distinguished himself with short stories such as "Eating Naked" and novels, including "Boy in Water" and "The Church of Dead Girls" which have been translated into 10 languages.

While visiting the Center for Writers, Dobyns will lead a workshop and meet individually with students. Dr. Angela Ball, who heads the poetry program at the Center for Writers, said, "I'm thrilled that my students will be learning from Stephen Dobyns. It's been said that literature should be an ax applied to the frozen waters of the heart--Dobyns will help the students learn to wield that ax." Of Dobyns' own work, she added, "Stephen Dobyns is a master craftsman whose poems possess tremendous force and range. No other poet I know is better at articulating exactly what it means to be human."

Additional visitors in the Center for Writers' Visiting Writers Series are scheduled throughout the 2004-2005 academic year. This fall the center has hosted novelist Matthew Sharpe, author of the "The Sleeping Father," a Today Show Book Club pick, and Tim O'Brien, author of "The Things They Carried." In November, Elissa Schappell and Rob Spillman, editors of "Tin House" magazine, will visit and discuss fiction and contemporary literary publishing. In the spring, the schedule features award-winning poet Lucie Brock-Broido; bestselling novelist Francine Prose; novelist Percival Everett; and National Book Award finalist Jennifer Egan.

Center director Frederick Barthelme said Dobyns' visit is one he especially looks forward to, as it strengthens an already strong program in poetry. "Stephen Dobyns is one of the finest poets working in America today," Barthelme said. "It is a rare privilege to have a writer of this caliber visiting and working in the classrooms at The University of Southern Mississippi."

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November 23, 2004 9:23 AM