Public Reading and Lecture
Thursday, May 20, 7:30 p.m.
Mars Hill Graduate School
Co-Sponsored by the Seattle Pacific University English Department, the SPU MFA in Creative Writing, and Mars Hill Graduate School
Join IMAGE journal and acclaimed writer Ron Hansen for the2010 Denise Levertov Award lecture and reading. Hansen is a contributor to Image and the author of Mariette in Ecstasy, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Hitler's Niece, Atticus, Exiles, and more, as well as the editor of several anthologies of contemporary short stories. He teaches literature, film, and creative writing at Santa Clara University and serves as a permanent deacon for the Diocese of San Jose.
He will be speaking at Mars Hill Graduate School on Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception and book signing.
Ron Hansen’s latest novel Exiles achieves a unity of vision and emotional impact that many readers will find unforgettable. The story is at once familiar and unfamiliar, a daring exercise in a fictional rendering of a historical episode that might not, on the surface, appear to have much dramatic potential. It follows five obscure German nuns who board a doomed trans-Atlantic steamship intending to pursue their vocations of teaching and healing in the United States, and how their tale moves the beloved poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins as he reads the account of the disaster. The impulse to write poetry, which he had stifled as incompatible with his vocation to the priesthood, is unleashed by this incident. The result is “The Wreck of the Deutschland,” Hopkins’s great tragic ode, which gave him a sense of permission to write poetry again. What might seem merely pathetic--an accidental shipwreck--is rendered dramatic by these themes and the spiritual realities that underpin them. Hansen happens to hold the Gerard Manley Hopkins chair at Santa Clara University, and has long been regarded as one of America’s leading Catholic writers. Exiles marks Hansen’s return to the territory he covered in his bestselling novel, Mariette in Ecstasy, published in 1992.
The Denise Levertov Award is named for one of the twentieth century's greatest poets. Levertov, who spent her last years in Seattle, embraced the landscape and culture of the Pacific Northwest. Her identity as a Christian believer--a pilgrim whose faith was inextricably entwined with doubt--became another important facet of her work, particularly in her later poetry. The Levertov Award is presented annually in the spring to an artist or creative writer whose work exemplifies a serious and sustained engagement with the Judeo-Christian tradition. Past recipients include poets Madeline DeFrees and Franz Wright, nonfiction writers Kathleen Norris, Thomas Lynch, and Eugene Peterson, and fiction writer Bret Lott.
Mars Hill Graduate School trains women and men to enter into their creative calling through the study of the biblical text, the human soul, and the culture we live in, offering Master's degrees in Counseling Psychology, Christian Studies, and Divinity.
For more information, call (206) 281-2988. For directions to Mars Hill Graduate School, click here.