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Students at Denison enjoy a curriculum in English that balances the need for broad introductory courses with abundant opportunities to focus on special topics.
In our small classes, students find varied but uniformly passionate instruction in American, British, and world literature. And for more than 50 years, Denison students have studied the art and craft of creative writing through the Writing Program’s workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

For over fifty years the Beck Series, funded by the Harriet Ewens Beck Endowment for English, has been a mainstay of creative writing studies at Denison University. The series provides students the opportunity to hear, study with, and engage some this country’s finest writers in the close quarters and pastoral setting of our hilltop campus in Granville, Ohio.

Harriet Ewens Beck, class of 1910, developed a lifelong love of poetry after studying high school English with Willa Cather in Pittsburgh. Upon her passing, her husband Gordon C. Beck (class of 1906), arrived on campus in 1960 and announced to Paul Bennett of the English Department, “I want to establish an enduring monument to Harriet, something that will honor her interest in writing.” Beck pledged to fund the endowment and then, over a lunch of peanut butter crackers and chocolate chip cookies in the Student Union, the two men outlined the plans of what would become one of most vibrant and dynamic reading series on any campus in this country.

The Beck Series first visitor was Eudora Welty, whose four-day visit came in April of 1964. She met with faculty, visited classes, and conferenced with students about their manuscripts. That first visit set the tone and template that defines the Beck Series. Visitors to Denison’s campus continue to share their work in public readings, meet with creative writing classes and the campus community, and work with students in one-on-one manuscript consultations or lead workshops. The generous gift from the Beck family has brought to Denison twelve United States’ Poet Laureates and over twenty winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, including Derek Walcott, Louise Erdrich, Mark Strand, Aleksander Hemon, Steven Millhauser, and Edwidge Danticat, to name a few. David Baker, Thomas B. Fordham Chair of Creative Writing, says, “The Beck Series has been one of Denison's jewels, a virtual anthology of American writing since 1960. New, emerging, established, and downright famous writers in every literary genre, from short poems to long novels, political, lyrical, confessional—every literary stance has been represented by our visitors.”

Literature & Poetry Denison University

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Students at Denison enjoy a curriculum in English that balances the need for broad introductory courses with abundant opportunities to focus on special topics.
In our small classes, students find varied but uniformly passionate instruction in American, British, and world literature. And for more than 50 years, Denison students have studied the art and craft of creative writing through the Writing Program’s workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

For over fifty years the Beck Series, funded by the Harriet Ewens Beck Endowment for English, has been a mainstay of creative writing studies at Denison University. The series provides students the opportunity to hear, study with, and engage some this country’s finest writers in the close quarters and pastoral setting of our hilltop campus in Granville, Ohio.

Harriet Ewens Beck, class of 1910, developed a lifelong love of poetry after studying high school English with Willa Cather in Pittsburgh. Upon her passing, her husband Gordon C. Beck (class of 1906), arrived on campus in 1960 and announced to Paul Bennett of the English Department, “I want to establish an enduring monument to Harriet, something that will honor her interest in writing.” Beck pledged to fund the endowment and then, over a lunch of peanut butter crackers and chocolate chip cookies in the Student Union, the two men outlined the plans of what would become one of most vibrant and dynamic reading series on any campus in this country.

The Beck Series first visitor was Eudora Welty, whose four-day visit came in April of 1964. She met with faculty, visited classes, and conferenced with students about their manuscripts. That first visit set the tone and template that defines the Beck Series. Visitors to Denison’s campus continue to share their work in public readings, meet with creative writing classes and the campus community, and work with students in one-on-one manuscript consultations or lead workshops. The generous gift from the Beck family has brought to Denison twelve United States’ Poet Laureates and over twenty winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, including Derek Walcott, Louise Erdrich, Mark Strand, Aleksander Hemon, Steven Millhauser, and Edwidge Danticat, to name a few. David Baker, Thomas B. Fordham Chair of Creative Writing, says, “The Beck Series has been one of Denison's jewels, a virtual anthology of American writing since 1960. New, emerging, established, and downright famous writers in every literary genre, from short poems to long novels, political, lyrical, confessional—every literary stance has been represented by our visitors.”

    • video
    Poetry in Ohio

    Poetry in Ohio

    Denison’s Beck Series welcomes poets Kathy Fagan, Michael Rosen and Maggie Smith as part of the Ohio Poetry Series.

    Fagan’s latest collection is “Sycamore.” She is also the author of the National Poetry Series selection “The Raft,” the Vassar Miller Prize winner “MOVING & ST RAGE,” “The Charm,” and “Lip.” Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Slate, FIELD, Narrative, The New Republic, The Nation, and Poetry. Fagan was named Ohio Poet of the Year for 2017, and is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the NEA, The Frost Place, Ohioana, Greater Columbus Arts Council, and the Ohio Arts Council. The director of creative writing and the MFA Program at The Ohio State University, she is currently professor of English, poetry editor of OSU Press, and advisor to The Journal.

    Rosen is prolific writer and artist. His biography refuses easy summation. He has deep Central Ohio ties and was director of the Thurber House for about 20 years. His poems have appeared widely and he has written four books of poetry: “Every Species of Hope,” “Telling Things,” “Traveling in Notions: The Stories of Gordon Penn,” and “A Drink at the Mirage.”

    Smith is the author of three books of poetry: “Good Bones;” “The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison;” and “Lamp of the Body.” Smith is also the author of three prizewinning chapbooks. Her poems appear in Best American Poetry, the New York Times, Tin House, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Guernica, Plume, AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. In 2016, her poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally and has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. PRI (Public Radio International) called it “the official poem of 2016.” Smith has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, among others.

    • 56 min.
    • video
    Writers: Charles Boyer & Randall Horton

    Writers: Charles Boyer & Randall Horton

    Boyer, GLCA Fiction Prize Winner, has received writing grants and fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. He has taught at the University of New Hampshire and Northeastern University, and has taught the Journal Writing Seminar at Montserrat’s summer program in Viterbo, Italy, since 1998. His chapbook of poetry, “The Mockingbird Puzzle,” is published by Finishing Line Press. “History’s Child,” his first novel, tells the coming-of-age story of a Polish boy born in a village in eastern Poland in 1931, whose childhood is torn apart, first by the Soviet invasion from the east, then by the German invasion from the west, and ultimately by repressive grip of Stalin that sends him to the gulag and subsumes his homeland into the Soviet republic of Belarus.

    Horton, GLCA Nonfiction Prize Winner, is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. His previous work includes the poetry collection “Pitch Dark Anarchy.” Horton serves on the Board of Directors for Pen America’s Pen Prison Writing Program and teaches at the University of New Haven. He is a Cave Canem Fellow, and a member of both the Affrilachian Poets and the experimental performance group Heroes are Gang Leaders. Horton is also a senior editor at Willow Books, an independent literary press he helped found in 2006. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he now resides in Harlem, New York. His GLCA award winning book, “Hook: A Memoir,” explores his downward spiral from unassuming Howard University undergraduate to homeless drug addict, international cocaine smuggler, and incarcerated felon. Hook explores race and social construction in America, the forgotten lives within the prison industrial complex, and the resilience of the human spirit.

    • 54 min.
    • video
    Poet: Nate Marshall

    Poet: Nate Marshall

    Denison’s Beck Series welcomes GLCA poetry prize winner Nate Marshall, author of “Wild Hundreds” and an editor of “The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop.”

    “Wild Hundreds” has been honored with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s award for Poetry Book of the Year and The Great Lakes College Association’s New Writer Award. His last rap album, “Grown,” came out in 2015 with his group Daily Lyrical Product. Marshall is a member of The Dark Noise Collective, a multiracial, multi-genre collective featuring some of the most exciting, insightful, and powerful spoken word artists performing today.

    • 48 min.
    • video
    Authors: Daniel and Peter Grandbois

    Authors: Daniel and Peter Grandbois

    Denison’s Beck Series welcomes authors Daniel and Peter Grandbois for a poetry and fiction reading.

    Daniel Grandbois is the author of four books including the prose poetry/flash fiction collection, “Unlucky Lucky Days,” the art novel, “The Hermaphrodite: An Hallucinated Memoir,” and the prose poetry collection, “Unlucky Lucky Tales,” as well as his most recent unclassifiable collection, “A Revised Poetry of Western Philosophy,” from the Pitt Poetry Series. He also has been instrumental in creating what has become known as the “Denver Sound,” touring in such bands as Tarantella and Slim Cessna’s Auto Club.

    Peter Grandbois, associate professor of English and narrative nonfiction writing at Denison, is the author of eight previous books, the most recent of which is “This House That,” the Brighthorse Books Poetry Prize Winner for 2017. He is a four time finalist in Foreword Magazine’s IndieFab Awards, taking the gold medal for best literary fiction of 2011 for his novel, “Nahoonkara,” and the silver medal for best fantasy of 2015 for his novella collection, “Wait Your Turn” and “At Night in Crumbling Voices.” His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over ninety journals and his plays have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is a senior editor at Boulevard magazine.

    • 55 min.
    • video
    Poet: Phil Metres

    Poet: Phil Metres

    Denison’s Beck Series welcomes poet, translator and scholar Phil Metres. He has written and translated a number of books and chapbooks, including “Pictures at an Exhibition,” “Sand Opera,” “I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky,” Concordance of Leaves, abu ghraib arias,” “Ode to Oil,” and “To See the Earth.”

    Metres has won grants from NEA for both poetry and translation and in 2015 was awarded a grant from the Lannan Foundation. He teaches poetry and literature at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.Denison’s Beck Series welcomes poet, translator and scholar Phil Metres. He has written and translated a number of books and chapbooks, including “Pictures at an Exhibition,” “Sand Opera,” “I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky,” Concordance of Leaves, abu ghraib arias,” “Ode to Oil,” and “To See the Earth.”

    Metres has won grants from NEA for both poetry and translation and in 2015 was awarded a grant from the Lannan Foundation. He teaches poetry and literature at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

    • 48 min.
    • video
    Author: Ted Genoways

    Author: Ted Genoways

    Genoways is a contributing writer at Mother Jones, The New Republic, and OnEarth. He is the author of The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of our Food” as well as two books of poems and the nonfiction book “Walt Whitman and the Civil War,” named a Best Academic Title of 2010 by the American Library Association. He is currently working on his next book, “Tequila Wars: The Bloody Struggle for the Spirit of Mexico.”

    His essays and poetry have appeared in The Atlantic, Bloomberg Businessweek, Harper’s, The New York Times, Outside, and the Washington Post Book World. He is a winner of a National Press Club Award and the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, and he has received fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation.

    • 40 min.

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