Suzanne Cleary, the 2008 winner of Converse College’s Julia Peterkin Award, will give a public reading of her works Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 8 pm. The reading, which is sponsored by Converse’s Creative Writing program, is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Barnet Room of the Montgomery Student Center.
"I will be reading several poems I sent to the Julia Peterkin Award committee, as well as poems from my newest book, Trick Pear," said Cleary. "I will also read some new poems, written this summer at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony."
The Julia Peterkin Award was established in 1998 by Converse’s Creative Writing program, and is a national contest honoring the finest young poets and writers in America. The award is named for Converse graduate Julia Mood Peterkin who won the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for her novel Scarlet Sister Mary.
In describing how her poetry differs from those written by her peers, Cleary said "Today there are so many different types of poetry being written. I would align my work with that of narrative poets and also with that of meditative lyric poets. My poems exhibit characteristics of both of these styles, but I think my poems love surprise. While writing, I love to discover unexpected, even odd, connections between stories and/or ideas."
Cleary is the author of several poetry books, including Trick Pear (2007) and Keeping Time (2002), both published by Carnegie Mellon University Press. Her collection Blue Cloth was chosen by Marilyn Nelson and Robert Cording as winner of the 2004 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival chapbook competition. Her awards include a Pushcart Prize and the Cecil Hemley Award of the Poetry Society of America. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Poetry. She is Professor of English at SUNY Rockland and also teaches at the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center and is a regular contributor for Bloomsbury Review.