JeanValentineVerticalMadison, N.J. – Twice a year, Drew University offers a free evening poetry reading series open to the public that showcases faculty from Drew’s Master of Fine Arts in Poetry and Poetry in Translation, all of whom are published poets.

This year’s MFA in Poetry Reading Series is a celebration of the work of Jean Valentine, the former State Poet of New York. This year’s series starts on June 21 and ends on June 28. Valentine will be giving a poetry reading on the series’ final day, June 28.

Besides Valentine, who is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and National Book Award winner, additional poets will showcase their work at free readings throughout the week. Gerald Stern, who recently won the Frost Medal, the top prize from the Poetry Society of America, is reading on June 21.

Both Stern and Valentine are Drew’s Distinguished Poets-in-Residence.

All events begin at 7 p.m. in Mead Hall, unless otherwise noted:

  •  Saturday, June 21, there will be readings by Jane Mead and Gerald Stern.
  •  Monday, June 23, Mihaela Moscaliuc, Judith Vollmer and Alicia Ostriker are reading.
  • Tuesday, June 24, Ross Gay, Michael Waters and Aracelis Girmay are the featured poets.
  • Wednesday, June 25, Ira Sadoff, Anne Marie Macari and Ellen Dore Watson will be reading.
  • Friday, June 27, Valentine will be interviewed from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 28, there will be a symposium on Valentine’s work from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and she will give a reading at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, June 22, Valentine also will read at the Giralda Farms Music & Arts Festival located on Route 124 in Madison. Visitors attending that event must pay the festival fee.

“Valentine is a guiding force as a poet and mentor in both her person and through her work,” said Sean Nevin, director of Drew’s poetry program. “There is at once a groundedness and a keen sense of what exists beyond the language in Valentine’s lyric poems. Her poems seem to honor equally the unsaid alongside the physical world.”

Valentine is the recipient of many poetry awards including the Yale Younger Poets Award, the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry, the Wallace Stevens Award in 2010, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2011. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the NEA, the Bunting Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation as well as the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.