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November 4, 2013

Hartwick festival to feature award-winning writers

The Daily Star

---- — Poet Aimée Nezhukumatathil will be the featured reader on the first night of Hartwick College’s two-evening New American Writing Festival. Nezhukumatathil will present her work at 8 p.m. today. 

Also part of the Festival, the Tuesday showcase reading scheduled for 8 p.m. includes poets Bertha Rogers, Kirby Olson, Jamie Ormiston, Rob Hunter (Hartwick class of 1986) and Hartwick College Visiting Assistant Professor of English Brent DeLanoy. 

Both readings will be held in the Celebration Room of Shineman Chapel House on the Hartwick College campus. This event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Nezhukumatathil is the author of three books of poetry: “Lucky Fish” (2011), winner of the Hoffer Grand Prize for Prose and Independent Books; “At the Drive-In Volcano” (2007); and “Miracle Fruit” (2003). Lucky Fish also won the gold medal in poetry for the Independent Publishers Book Awards and was featured in the New York Times and on the PBS NewsHour’s “Art Beat.” Poems from this collection were also awarded an NEA Fellowship in poetry, the Glenna Luschia Prize from Prairie Schooner, and the Angoff Award from The Literary Review for the best poems appearing that volume year. At the Drive-In Volcano was awarded the Balcones Prize, which honors an outstanding collection published the previous year. Miracle Fruit won ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award in poetry, and the Global Filipino Literary Award.

Other awards for her writing include the Pushcart Prize, a poetry fellowship to the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Boatwright Prize from Shenandoah, and the Richard Hugo Prize from Poetry Northwest. Nezhukumatathil is a Professor of English at State University of New York-Fredonia where she was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal of Excellence.

Continuing the Festival on Tuesday will be Rogers, Olson, Ormiston, Hunter, and DeLanoy.

Rogers founded Bright Hill Press with Ernest Fishman in 1992 in Treadwell, where she has curated hundreds of poetry and prose readings, including the regular “Word Thursdays” series. Her poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, in chapbooks, and in full-length collections including “Heart Turned Back” (Salmon, Ireland, 2010), and the forthcoming “Wild” (Salmon, Ireland, 2015). Her translation of “Beowulf” was published in 2000, and her translation of the Anglo-Saxon Riddle-Poems from the Exeter Book, “Uncommon Creatures, Singing Things,” is forthcoming. She has won writing and visual arts awards and residency fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, the Rockefeller Brothers Potantico Hills Residency program, Hedgebrook, and Hawthornden International Writers Retreat. 

Olson studied poetry with Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and others at The Naropa Institute. His poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Christianity and Literature, First Things, The Huffington Post, Poetry East, South Dakota Review, and many others. Olson is a professor at the State University College of Technology at Delhi and lives in Delhi with his wife and four children.

Ormiston has worked in a variety of capacities for 30 years including restaurants and colleges, citing that, “poetry and graphic art have been the secret of my possible soul. In words and images, I specialize in the growth of the beauty I think of as wisdom.”

Hunter graduated from Hartwick College in 1986 and earned a Master of Arts degree at the Bread Loaf School of English. His poetry has appeared in a variety of literary magazines over the years, and his first volume of poetry, “September Swim,” was published in 2005 by Spoon River Poetry Press. He has taught high school English for 23 years, and lives in Manchester, Vt.

DeLanoy received his Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction from New Mexico State University in 2006. His stories have appeared in several journals in print and online. His novella “Benediction” won the A.E. Coppard Prize and was published in 2008. Among other things, DeLanoy is working on a non-fiction book, “Airhead,” about a 30-day, 10,000-mile motorcycle adventure.

The New American Writing Festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The festival is co-sponsored by Hartwick College’s English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta and the Visiting Writers Series at Hartwick College.

For additional information on the Festival, contact Hartwick College Professor of English Robert Bensen at or 431-4902.