GAMBIER — Free copies of “The Shadow of Sirius,” the W.S. Merwin Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, will be distributed at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market on Saturday, Oct. 2, starting at 9 a.m. at the Mount Vernon Public Square.
The book giveaway launches the 2010 Knox Reads! program in advance of the Kenyon Review Literary Festival on Nov. 5 and 6 in Gambier. Merwin, the poet laureate of the United States, will visit Kenyon College for a free lecture and reading on Nov. 6. Merwin is being honored with the 2010 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement on Nov. 5 in New York City.
David Lynn, professor of English and editor of the Kenyon Review, described “The Shadow of Sirius” as the work of a master. Merwin “has pared his art to essentials: the interplay of memory and identity, the hard grit of place and how it shapes ourselves,” he said. “Sirius won Merwin a second Pulitzer Prize and, like the late Beethoven quartets or the equally late poetry of Yeats, it represents a brilliant calibrating of vision in ripeness.”
Knox Reads! is a monthlong series of events, including book discussions, lectures and readings, designed to introduce the work of the honored writers to the community and inspire interest in lifelong reading and learning. Here is a list of upcoming events:
Oct. 2, 9 a.m. to noon. Knox Reads! kickoff with distribution of free books at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market on Public Square.
Oct. 14, 4:10 p.m. Lecture by Thomas Hawks, visiting assistant professor of English, on “The Shadow of Sirius and W.S. Merwin’s Place in Contemporary Poetics” at the Finn House Cheever Room, 102 W. Wiggin St., Gambier.
Oct. 19, 7 p.m. John Chidester, director of the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, leads a book discussion at the main library, 201 N. Mulberry St., Mount Vernon.
Oct. 26, 7 p.m. Royal Rhodes, Donald L. Rogan Professor of Religious Studies, discusses “Translating our Middle Path: W.S. Merwin, Zen, and Nature at Kenyon” at the main library in Mount Vernon.
Oct. 28, 4:10 p.m. Presentation on “Merwin in Translations,” led by Kenyon faculty and students at the Finn House Cheever Room.
Nov. 2, 4:10 p.m. Student-led book discussion at the Olin Library Ringwalt Room, 103 College Drive, Gambier.
Nov. 3, noon. Chidester leads a Brown Bag Chat on “Appreciating Poetry — A Retrospective of American Poets Laureate” at the main library in Mount Vernon.
Nov. 5, all day. Self-guided Merwin poetry hikes around Gambier. Maps for the tour will be available in Peirce Hall, 201 College-Park St., Gambier.
Nov. 5, 5:30 p.m. Empty Bowls Dinner for charity followed by a poetry reading by Forrest Gander at 7:30 p.m., Peirce Hall.
Nov. 6, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Discussion panels, readings, seminars and workshops, Peirce Hall. Self-guided Merwin poetry hikes around Gambier with maps available at Peirce Hall.
Nov. 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Literary Magazine Fair and Kenyon Review Book Sale, Peirce Hall.
Nov. 6, 8 p.m. The Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Lecture: An Evening with W.S. Merwin, followed by a reception and book-signing, at Rosse Hall, 105 College Drive, Gambier.
Knox Reads! is presented by the Kenyon Review, with support from the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County, First Knox Bank, Kenyon Art Department, Kenyon College Bookstore, Kenyon Craft Center, Kenyon Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Lecture Series, Kenyon Department of Modern Languages and Literature, Kenyon Faculty Lectureships, Kenyon Library, Kenyon Robert B. Hubbard Chair in Poetry, Ohio Arts Council, Paragraphs Bookstore of Mount Vernon, Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County.
To learn more about Knox Reads! and the literary festival, visit www.kenyonreview.org and call (740) 427-5389.