Jim Durham
News Bureau Director

Greg WilliamsonVisiting professor Emma Bolden knows poet Greg Williamson – our first guest in this year’s Foust Artist Series – and she predicts patrons will find his September 13 reading as entertaining as she does.

“There are few readers I like to hear more than Greg, and I know that both lifetime fans of poetry and those who aren’t familiar with the art feel the same way after hearing him read,” said Bolden, who has taught Poetry Workshop and Twentieth Century Poetry here. She’s encouraging her Creative Nonfiction to join her for the 8 p.m., Monday event in the Hall of Fame Room, Cralle Student Center.

A complimentary dessert and coffee at 7:30 p.m. accompanies this poetry event. Tickets may be purchased at the door for all three individual events: Adults $10, senior citizens $8, students $5 (other than GC students). The series (see below for more details) includes the National Players production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Nights Dream” on October 25 and the “Groovy Sixties Show” by the Louisville-based Wulfe Brothers on February 26.

A Senior Lecturer at The Johns Hopkins University, Williamson is known for his use of the “Double Exposure” form in which one poem can be read three different ways: solely the standard type, solely the bold type in alternating lines, or the combination of the two.

Williamson’s most recent collection of poetry is A Most Marvelous Piece of Luck (Waywiser Press). His other books include Errors in the Script (Overlook Press) and The Silent Partner (Story Line Press), which won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize in 1995. He was a winner of the Whiting Award in 1998. His work has appeared in The Yale Review, The Paris Review, and The New Republic, among others. Born in 1964, he is the youngest poet in the current edition of the Norton Anthology of Poetry.

In a cryptic e-mail, Williamson wrote that the Georgetown College audience could expect his reading Monday to include “football and UFOs.”

Emma Bolden, who is in her final year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown College, however, offers these insights on Williamson:

“I first met Greg Williamson the summer I turned seventeen, at the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference. He was a featured reader and guest speaker, and I remember feeling mesmerized by his poetry.

“There’s something captivating about his work – its rhythms, its music, its build-up of image – which makes it absolutely perfect for a reading. I remember feeling that awe-inspiring thrill of surprise as I listened, swept up not only by the beauty of the language but by his ability to create powerful narratives. Williamson’s work shows us what poetry is when it is at its best: the beautiful and sometimes brutal beating heart of it, and how it beats in time and measure and music, and how it travels inside a body of work to become a story.

“When I think of Williamson’s work, two words immediately come to mind: tradition and innovation. The two words summarize the paradox which powers Williamson’s work. He often uses traditional forms, like rhyming couplets or the sonnet, and then explodes the form and turns it into something completely new. His work is often experimental, but always, in some way or another, hearkens back to the rhyme-and-meter tradition of the poems people most often love.

“In listening to his poetry, one learns not only what poets are doing today, but what poets have done for centuries – and what has drawn us to poetry for centuries. This aspect – the intersection of experiment and innovation – makes Williamson’s work important – and enjoyable! – not just for English and Creative Writing majors, but for any member of a liberal arts community – after all, our focus is on questioning tradition, and on finding new ways to think and speak and believe.”

A native of Nashville, Williamson was educated at Vanderbilt University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Johns Hopkins University. He divides his time between Baltimore – where he teaches at Johns Hopkins – and Duluth, GA. He is Associate Editor at Waywiser Press.

Call (502) 863-8041 or toll free at (877) 640-0107 for more information about the Foust Artist Series; and ask about the annual dinner package sponsored by the Pawling Heritage Society in conjunction with the Wulfe Brothers concert on Feb. 26. After the September 13 poetry reading by Greg Williamson, there are two more events in the series:

October 25 – A National Players production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Nights Dream,” 8 p.m., John L. Hill Chapel.

February 26 – Groovy Sixties Show by the Louisville-based Wulfe Brothers. From teen idols to the British Invasion. From Martin Luther King, Jr. to John F. Kennedy.; from a trip to the moon to a trip to Woodstock. We’ll go groovin’ to the music and people of the psychedelic decade; 8 p.m., John L. Hill Chapel.