English department to host ‘visual poet’ for lecture to feature ‘needles and pens’

Thursday, February 27, 2014

LAWRENCE — Poets can use more than just the pen. Maria Damon’s most recent tool of choice is weaving and needlepoint.

Damon of the Pratt Institute of Art in New York will deliver this year’s Eberhardt Lecture, sponsored by the Department of English of the University of Kansas. The lecture, “Poets Are Not the Only Poets,” will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at the Malott Room in the Kansas Union.

In addition to being a literary critic, Damon is a practitioner of visual poetry. She will also present her creative work at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, at The Commons in Spooner Hall. Damon's “text/ile” work challenges the boundaries between literature and material culture, high art and folk art, image and text.

Damon, who is a professor and chair of humanities and media studies at Pratt Institute, is the author of two books of poetry scholarship, co-editor of the anthololgy Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader, and co-author, with Miekal And and Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, of several volumes of poetry, some of which were the earliest digital hypertext poems.

“Maria Damon is one of the most innovative people in American poetry studies of the last 20 years,” said Professor Joseph Harrington, a modern poetry specialist at the English department. “Her book ‘The Dark End of the Street’ revolutionized poetry scholarship by extending it to what we might call ‘outsider poetry.’ She looks for poetry in unexpected places, and her own creative work has been very much in the same vein.”

Both events, which are free and open to the public, will be followed by a question-and-answer period and book signing.