Noted poet Anita Skeen will give a public reading of her latest works in the Montgomery Student Center at Converse College Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. Her reading, which is free and open to the public, is made possible by the college’s Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Visiting Writers Series. Skeen is the Sara Lura Mathews Self Writer in Residence at Converse during January Term and is teaching an advanced tutorial in poetry during her month-long residency. For more information about her reading, call (864) 596-9099.
Skeen is author of “Each Hand a Map;” “Portraits;” “Outside the Fold, Outside the Frame;” and “The Resurrection of the Animals.” Her poems, short fiction and essays have appeared widely in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Prairie Schooner, Mid-America Review and Kansas Quarterly. She also serves as professor of English at Michigan State University where she teaches poetry writing, women’s studies and Canadian studies.
Most often, Skeen looks to the natural world for motivation. “Nature just has a way of inspiring me. I grew up in a rural part of West Virginia and spent countless hours in the woods reading. It was during that time that I fell in love with the cadence of the King James Version of the Bible,” she explained. “I later moved to Kansas and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscapes of the Midwest. Some artists are drawn to a big city environment for inspiration, but I’m the complete opposite. For example, the time that I spent teaching in London, England was actually one of the least productive times for me as far as writing was concerned. The majority of my work is autobiographical, and is about places I’ve been, people I’ve met and things that I’ve done. I like to use landscapes as metaphors because they can create such powerful emotions.”