This coming Thursday, March 31st, two kindred poets will read together in honor of Womens History Month and as part of the PSU Distinguished Visiting Writers series. Jeanne E. Clark and Laura Lee Washburn will read at 8:00 p.m. in the Governors Room, Overman Student Center. The reading is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the reading in the Heritage Room.
Washburn and Clark are longtime friends and colleagues. Clark is a Midwesterner who spent several years in the Southwest before joining the creative writing faculty at California State University, Chico. Her first book, Ohio Blue Tips, won the Akron Poetry Prize in 1997. Clark is interested in community-based education and taught for many years in prisons, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and public schools as an Artist in Education. Washburn began teaching at Pittsburg State University in 1997. She is the Director of Creative Writing and a Professor of English with a specialty in poetry. She serves at the Director of the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series and as Vice-Director of Women’s Studies. Her books are This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition and Watching the Contortionists, winner of the Palanquin Chapbook Prize. She has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Clark says that voice in Washburns work is like the voice of a beloved, yet sometimes cantankerous aunt standing next to you at the kitchen sink, telling you what to do as the two of you peel onions and how to clean up afterwards the mess that you will have made. Washburn says of Clarks work: Jeanne’s work is wild and strange. There is an unease in her work that balances against a deep sympathy for the people and animals she writes about.