7th Annual Literary Festival
Lit Fest Home

Page 8, The ODU COURIER, Friday, Sept. 21, 1984



Gloria Emerson


Mark Smith

Social and political concerns
dominate ODU Literary Festival

What word best describes a group of writers? A gaggle? A gang? A coterie? Certainly, it couldn't be called a literary clique that's descending on campus for the seventh annual ODU Literary Festival, Oct, 1-4.

Not a clique because of a diversity both of discipline and personality. Poetry, fiction, historical writing and journalism will be well represented by the six writers-all of national stature-participating in this year's festival. Insights into their wide-ranging work, as well as excerpts from the work itself, will be shared with area literary enthusiasts in a marathon series of morning, afternoon and evening sessions on campus.

The line-up includes black poets Gwendolyn Brooks and Amiri Baraka (the former LeRoi Jones); distinguished author and editor George Garrett; fiction writers Mark Smith and Robley Wilson Jr.; and war correspondent Gloria Emerson. Themes of social and political concern will dominate this year's program, according to organizer Anthony Ardizzone, who is coordinating his fifth festival for ODU.

"Too many writers advocate art for art's sake," asserted the ODU English professor, himself a novelist and reviewer, in a recent meeting. "We've tried to balance the talks-on war, on poetry, on fiction, on research-to show the connections between writing and the real world."

He also noted: "This is one of the most prolific groups that's ever come to campus. You add up their collections and they come to dozens of novels and story collections, and volumes of poetry. This group has done a lot of work. They're a solid crew of established writers who are really in their stride." ODU is fortunate in having the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) here on campus; these national writers' network has been instrumental in promoting the festival in conjunction with its annual board of directors meeting.

The university's Activities Programming Board has also helped out, funding Garrett's appearance.

As to future festivals, Ardizzone hopes for increasing support from the Hampton Roads community. "We're hoping to develop a 'Friends' or 'Patrons' program-a group that could help the festival with fund raising," he observed. Currently the festival has a budget of about $10,000.

"That's pretty cost effective, in my opinion;" Ardizzone concluded.

"I am inside someone who hates me. I look out from his eyes... "---Amiri Baraka, "An Agony. As Now."

Schedule of events:

Monday, Oct.I

A READING by Amiri Baraka, 8 p.m., Batten Arts and Letters auditorium.

Tuesday, Oct . 2


George Garrett, 12:30 p.m., rooms 148- 150, Webb Center.

LITERATURE AND REALITY, by Amiri Baraka, 2p.m. rooms 148-150, Webb Center.

FICTION READING by George Garrett, 8 p.m. Batten arts and Letters auditorium.

Wednesday, Oct. 3

ON FICTION, by Robley Wilson Jr. and Mark Smith, 11am, rooms 148-150, Webb Center.

FICTION READING, by Robley Wilson Jr. 2p.m., rooms 148-150, Webb Center.

FICTION READING, by Mark Smith, 8 p.m., Batten Arts and Letters auditorium.

Thursday, October. 4

ON POETRY: BROOKS ON BROOKS, By Gwendolyn Brooks, 12:30 p.m., rooms 148-150, Webb Center.

WRITING ABOUT WAR, by Gloria Emerson, 2 p.m., rooms 148- 150, Webb.

POETRY READING, by Gwendolyn Brooks 8 p.m., Batten Arts and Letters auditorium.

"Does man love Art? Man visits Art, but squirms. Art hurts. Art urges voyages--- and it is easier to stay at home…"---Gwendolyn Brooks, ' "The Chicago Picasso."

Notes on the writers:

AMIRI BARAKA (formerly LeRoi Jones). Eleven volumes of poetry, among them "Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note"; 24 plays, including the Obie Award- winning "Dutchman"; "Blues People" and five other books of non-fiction; and a novel, a story collection and "The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka." Also founder of the Black Arts Repertory Theater School, in Harlem, and Spirit House, in Newark, N.J.

GEORGE GARRETT, Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing, University of Virginia. Five novels, including "The Succession: A Novel of Elizabeth and James"; six collections of short stories and two of poetry; two plays; screenplays; and a biography of James Jones.

ROBLEY WILSONJR., editor, North American Review. Three collections of short stories: "Dancing for Men," "Living Alone" and "The Pleasures of Manhood"; and three volumes of poetry.

MARK SMITH, author of seven novels, among them "The Death of the Detective," . a New York Times bestseller and 1974 National Book Award nominee; others include "Smoke Street," "The Moon Lamp," "The Delphinium Girl," "Doctor Blues" and "The Middleman."

GLORIA EMERSON, winner of the 1978 National Book Award for Non-fiction. Award presented for "Winners and Losers," her account of the American war in Vietnam. Also winner of the 1971 George Polk Award for excellence in foreign reporting. Former New York Times foreign correspondent; recent work has appeared in Esquire, Harper's, Saturday Review, Vogue, Playboy, New Times, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair.

GWENDOLYN BROOKS, winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Poetry collections include " A Street in Bronzeville," "Annie Allen" (which garnered the Pulitzer) and" In the Mecca" (nominated for the 1968 National Book Award). Also a novel, "Maud Martha," books for children and an autobiographical volume titled "Report from Part One."


Robley Wilson Jr.

George Garrett