Orange Alert

Syracuse Symposium™ Presents Readings by Minnie Bruce Pratt, Martha Collins Nov. 5

Humanities Center, Y Arts Branch team up for premier literary event

Oct. 26, 2015, by Rob Enslin

Minnie Bruce Pratt
Minnie Bruce Pratt

Syracuse SymposiumTM continues its “Networks” theme with a special program by Minnie Bruce Pratt and Martha Collins, award-winning poets and social activists.

Also part of the Visiting Author Reading Series of the YMCA Arts Branch’s Downtown Writers Center (DWC), the event is Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. at the DWC (340 Montgomery St., Syracuse). It is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Syracuse University Humanities Center or visit

The reading is co-sponsored by the DWC and the Humanities Center, the latter of which is based in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“This is a special opportunity for the campus community,” says Vivian May, director of the Humanities Center and associate professor of women’s & gender studies. “Minnie Bruce’s poetry shows us how theoretical and creative insights are most powerful when they are embedded within and speak to lived realities of everyday life. In turn, Martha’s precise and meditative language has addressed some of the most pressing social issues of our day, such as racism, immigration, and eugenics.”

Known for her groundbreaking work in women’s studies, Pratt retired earlier this year from Syracuse, where she helped establish the LGBT Studies Program, and held faculty positions in The Writing Program and Department of Women’s & Gender Studies. Pratt is the author of more than a dozen award-winning or critically acclaimed books, including The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003) and Crime Against Nature (Firebrand Books, 1990). She also has published dozens of poems, essays, and articles, many of which have been anthologized.

Martha Collins
Martha Collins
Collins founded the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and has taught at Oberlin College and Cornell University. Her collections of poetry include Day Unto Day (Milkweed Editions, 2014), written over a six-year span, and Blue Front (Graywolf Press, 2006), which won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the year’s most memorable books. Collins is currently promoting Catherine Breese Davis: On the Life and Work of an American Master (Pleidas Press, 2015), which she has co-edited, and is working on Admit One: An American Scrapbook (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016).

Phil Memmer is executive director of the Y Arts Branch and founder of the DWC. “This is one of the top literary events of the season,” he says. “To have not one, but two iconic writers on stage, reading from their work and interacting with the audience in a relatively intimate setting is not to be missed.”  

The Syracuse University Humanities Center, founded in 2008, fosters public engagement in the humanities, and is home to the Syracuse Symposium™, the Central New York Humanities Corridor, the Jeanette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professorship, the Mellon Visiting Collaborator, the HC Mini-Seminar and Symposium Seminar series, the Perpetual Peace Project, and other annual research initiatives, annual fellowships and public programming.

Founded in 1999, the Arts Branch of the Y is a leader in the national YMCA arts and humanities movement, serving thousands of area residents each year through programs in the visual, literary, and performing arts. The YMCA's Downtown Writers Center is the only community center for the literary arts in the CNY region, and offers dozens of workshops, readings by emerging and established authors, and other literary programs throughout the year. YMCA arts programs are made possible by funding from the County of Onondaga, administered by CNY Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with support from Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Media Contact

Rob Enslin