Orange Alert

Reading by Poet Christopher Kennedy G'88 Moved to Feb. 6

Director of Syracuse M.F.A. program will open 2019 Carver Reading Series, originally slated to launch Jan. 30

Feb. 1, 2019, by Robert M Enslin

Christopher Kennedy G'88 (Photo by David Broda)
Christopher Kennedy G'88 (Photo by David Broda)

The first event of the 2019 Raymond Carver Reading Series, featuring poet Christopher Kennedy G’88, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 6.

The director of Syracuse’s top-ranked M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing will read original selections from 3:45-4:45 p.m. in Gifford Auditorium of Huntington Beard Crouse Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Kennedy was originally scheduled to read on Jan. 30, but extreme winter temperatures forced the University to cancel his event, along with the rest of its evening classes and activities.

For more information about the reading, contact Sarah Harwell G’05, associate director of the M.F.A. program in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), at 315.443.2174 or

The author of five books of poetry, Kennedy will highlight his latest, which is titled “Clues from the Animal Kingdom” (BOA Editions, 2018). Fellow professor George Saunders G’88 calls the collection a “moving portrait of the human heart examining itself.”

Adds writer-publisher Dave Eggers: "There is joy and dread here, in every carefully considered line.”

Kennedy admits that while some of poems are decades old, most of the collection dates from 2007-16. “I tend to save old poems and scavenge from them when I’m stuck working on something newer,” he recently told Poets & Writers magazine. “It’s all coming from the same source, and can be reshaped to resolve whatever dilemma I’m facing.”

Kennedy's “singular and deeply pleasurable prosetry”—to quote Eggers—permeates the rest of his canon, including “Encouragement for a Man Falling to His Death” (BOA Editions, 2007), which won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award. The A&S English professor also has co-translated the acclaimed “Light and Heavy Things: The Selected Poems of Zeehan Sahil” (BOA Editions, 2013) for the Lannan Translation Series.

The Wednesday afternoon series continues with novelist Sigrid Nunez, a visiting writer at Syracuse (Feb. 13); novelist Jonathan Dee, assistant professor of English (Feb. 27); poet Terrance Hayes, the Richard Elman Visiting Writer (March 20); Layli Long Soldier, an Oglala Lakota poet, writer and artist (April 3); and novelist Karan Mahajan, the Don MacNaughton Reader (April 24).

Each year, the Carver Reading Series presents 12-14 prominent writers who, as part of their mini-residencies, interact with members of an undergraduate creative writing course, led by TAs in the M.F.A. program.

The series’ namesake refers to the legendary poet and short story writer who taught in A&S in the 1980s.


Christopher Kennedy Professor

Media Contact

Robert M Enslin