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Alicia Suskin OstrickerAlicia Suskin


Joan Murry, photo by David LeeJoan Murray

Previous Visit:
October, 26, 1999


NYS Writers Institute, April 23, 2015

4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Campus Center 375. Uptown Campus

Alicia Ostriker, major American poet and two-time finalist for the National Book Award in poetry, and Joan Murray, winner of the National Poetry Series Open Competition, will read from new work on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. in Campus Center Room 375 on the University at Albany uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the authors will present an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library on the uptown campus. Free and open to the public, the events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.

Alicia Suskin Ostriker
is a two-time finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry for The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968–1998 (1999) and The Crack in Everything (1996). The Women’s Review of Books called Ostriker one of “America’s leading poet-critics [and] contemporary poetry’s most Blakean figure.”

The Old Woman and the Tulip and the DogHer new collection is The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog (2014), which poet Mark Doty called a “marvelously idiosyncratic, urgent, no-holds-barred book, a masque and pageant not to be missed.” Poet Tony Hoagland said, “The informal mastery of these poems is marvelous…. Bawdy, ruthless, insightful, and compassionate, these poems feel like play, even as they take you through configuration after configuration of the mortal condition…. Everyone should read them; they’re beautiful, and universal.”

The reviewer for The Progressive said of Ostriker’s earlier collection, The Little Space, “[This] provides an excellent introduction to the work of American’s most fiercely honest poet. Ostriker is a political poet in the best sense. She is not afraid to name names or state her opinions, but her poems could never be seen as political essays in verse…. Ostriker puts the reader to work, and she blenches at nothing that experience offers up.”

Ostriker is also the author of The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011 (2012). Poet Marilyn Hacker said in advance praise, “Poet Alicia Ostriker is a highly original scholar/teacher of midrash, the commentary and exegesis of scripture…. Here she ‘studies’ Jewish history, Jewish passion, Jewish contradictions, in a compendium of learned, crafted, earthy and outward-looking poems that show how this quest has informed and enriched her whole poet’s trajectory.”

Ostriker’s many awards include the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the National Jewish Book Award. She is professor emerita of English at Rutgers University and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Drew University.

Joan Murray has been called, “one of the few poets whose work remains accessible to both scholars of poetry and the casual reader” (The Harvard Review).  The Poetry Foundation said, “Working in free verse, Murray is a master of the single unforgettable detail. Her accessible, image-driven narratives harness the urgency of their moral or social context while staying true to the pacing and music of daily life.”

Murray’s new collection is Swimming for the Ark: New & Selected Poems 1990-2015. Writing for the blog, Talented Reader: A Literary Journal, Peter Adam Nash said of the new collection, “There’s political passion in Murray, vivid images, and a head-spinning array of subjects, observations, ideas.”

Murray’s earlier books include Looking for the Parade, winner of the National Poetry Series Open Competition; The Same Water, winner of the Wesleyan New Poets Series Competition;  Dancing on the Edge;  and Queen of the Mist, for which she received a Broadway commission. She is also a two-time National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship winner, a Pushcart Prize Winner, a repeat guest on NPR’s Morning Edition, and a former Poet-in-Residence at the New York State Writers Institute.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.