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Photo by Marie Balaban / George Venn is a noted poet and professor emeritus of creative writing at EOU.
March 27, 2013
PORTLAND, Ore. (EOU) – A distinguished figure in Western American literature is coming to the Portland metro area next month as part of the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission’s “Discovering Oregon Originals” series.
George Venn, of La Grande, will share selections from his new memoir “Keeping the Swarm” at 3:30 p.m. April 6 at Gresham Library in the Community Room, and at 2 p.m. April 7 at Portland’s Central Library in the U.S. Bank Room.
Both readings are free and open to the public and are concurrent with OCHC’s 25th anniversary.
Venn is a poet, essayist, literary historian, editor, educator and beekeeper. “Keeping the Swarm” contains 11 of his essays about the Northwest, in addition to pieces on his international sojourns in Spain and China, and others eulogizing individuals he loved. Fellow Northwest author Craig Lesley describes it as “Another brave and rewarding book.”
Venn has lived in the Grande Ronde Valley for four decades, much of which he devoted to working with students at Eastern Oregon University as a professor of creative writing. He received the Distinguished Teaching Award upon his retirement from EOU in 2002.
From 1971-1988 Venn served as the advisory editor for Oregon East, the award-winning art and literary magazine produced by EOU students. He was also involved with the Ars Poetica Lecture Series, which is still going strong at the university today.
Venn holds the distinction of being the first Oregon poet to receive the Pushcart Prize for his poem, “Forgive Us…” from “Off the Main Road.” Other works include “Marking the Magic Circle,” recognized by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission as one of the 100 best Oregon books in two centuries. His collection of poetry, “West of Paradise,” was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.
The OCHC discovers, celebrates and commemorates contributions to Oregon’s diverse literary and cultural legacy, raising awareness through publications and other media, memorials and public events. For more information visit www.ochcom.org/events.html.
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