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Harry StaleyHarry Staley

Fiction Writer

Previous Visit:
May 1, 2002

George DrewGeorge Drew

Fiction and
Non-fiction writer


NYS Writers Institute, May 2, 2012
4:15 p.m. Reading | Room 340, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Harry Staley, poet, beloved UAlbany Professor Emeritus, and noted scholar of the works of James Joyce, along with one of  his former student, award-winning poet George Drew, will read from their new poetry collections on Wednesday, May 2, 2012  at 4:15 p.m. in the Science Library Room 340  on the University at Albany uptown campus. The event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and SUNY Press and is free and open to the public.

Truant PasturesHarry C. Staley
is a noted Joyce scholar and Professor Emeritus of English at the University at Albany, where he taught from 1956 until his retirement in 1993. His poetry has been published in Groundswell, Psycho-poetry, The Little Magazine, Pennsylvania Literary Review, Arizona Quarterly, and elsewhere.

His new collection is Truant Pastures: The Complete Poems of Harry C. Staley (2011), published by Excelsior Editions, SUNY Press. In advance praise, literature scholar Todd F. Davis said, “The portrait of the speaker in the majority of these poems is one of a man conflicted in his religious faith, in his faith in his fellow human community, in the wars that religion has persuaded his fellow humans to take part in…. Staley demonstrates an understanding that is deeply spiritual, yet does not yield to easy, forgiving answers.”

Staley’s first collection, The Lives of a Shell-Shocked Chaplain (1995), is a narrative in poetry that follows the life of military chaplain Charles J. McCaffery from his birth in 1920 to his death in a nursing home in 1987. Novelist William Kennedy said in advance praise, “What a marvelous poetic biography Harry Staley has given us!... The coherence, the wit, and the power of Staley’s first published work are formidable. A virtuoso performance.” Staley’s second collection, All One Breath: Selected Poems (2002), is a series of autobiographical poems that draw from Staley’s own war experiences. In praise, poet and UAlbany Professor Judith Johnson said, “There is no poem in this collection which fails to delight, instruct, move and astonish.”

A View from Jackass HillGeorge Drew, poet and former student of Harry Staley at the University at Albany,is the author most recently of The View from Jackass Hill (2010), a collection that mourns, eulogizes, and celebrates deceased friends, family members, and favorite poets. The book received the 2010 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, from Texas Review Press. In bestowing the prize, series judge and poet Robert Phillips said, “Here is a poet with a real voice, brave and original…. This is a collection of friendship and vodka, and I can only say, Enjoy!”

The author of five previous collections, Drew has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and is the winner of the Paumanok Poetry Award, the Baltimore Review Poetry Prize, and the South Carolina Review Poetry Prize.

His 2006 poetry collection, The Horse’s Name Was Physics, explores the dawn of the nuclear age. Bruce Gregory of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said, “George Drew weaves the story of twentieth-century physics together with the lives of the people who helped make it and produces a compelling vision…. A remarkable feat and a true treat for the mind and heart.”
His 2009 collection, American Cool, received the 2010 Adirondack Literary Award. Major poet Hayden Carruth said of the poems in the book,“[In] their language they give me a bedrock pleasure that underlies all the gloom of reality. There couldn’t be a more clear or constant paradigm of the strange efficacy of art in human experience.”

Drew’s 2010 collection, The Hand That Rounded Peter’s Dome, is a biography of Michelangelo in verse. Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque called the book, the “poems of a brave master poet. They take on the under-life or other-life or associative-life of the magnificent Michaelangelo in poems which emerge as shapely arguments for whatever his hands or his imagination touched, indeed whatever his life touched….”

Drew also penned an introduction to Staley’s new collection, Truant Pastures.

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