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IUPUI Visiting Authors for Spring 2014

February 10, 2014 by Reader's Connection

Fiction writer and essayist Jacinda Townsend and poet Richard Blanco, who read at Barack Obama’s second inauguration, are featured in this spring’s Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series at IUPUI.

Jacinda Townsend
Thursday, February 27, 7:30 p.m.
University Library Lilly Auditorium

Saint Monkey

Saint MonkeyCaroline and Audrey, best friends and competitors, live across the street from each other in the African American section of little Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, during the fiercely segregated 1950s. Caroline, called Pookie, dreams of Hollywood. Audrey, called Poindexter because of her thick glasses, is a musical prodigy. Both endure crushing family tragedies. A chance encounter sparks Audrey’s bold escape to Harlem, where, a penny-poor country gal in a thin cotton dress, she secures a gig with the house band in the famed Apollo Theater and finds love. While Audrey acclimates to speedy, sophisticated New York and the cut-throat music world, Caroline endures a scraping-by rural life, caring for her ailing grandmother and younger sister. The women take turns narrating, and stellar first novelist Townsend renders their opposite lives with stunningly sensuous and revelatory detail . . . Townsend . . . asks profoundly personal questions about staying and going, sacrifice and ambition. This is a breathtakingly insightful, suspenseful, and gorgeously realized novel of cruelty and sorrow, anger and forgiveness, improvisation and survival, and the transcendent beauty of nature and art. — Booklist




International Women’s Day Celebration
Wednesday, March 12, 7:00 p.m.
(With reception preceding at 6:30 p.m.)
University Library Lilly Auditorium




Richard Blanco
Thursday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.
Herron School of Art and Design Basile Auditorium

For All of Us, One Today : An Inaugural Poet’s Journey

For All of Us, One Today : An Inaugural Poet's JourneyOn January 21, 2013, Blanco joined the ranks of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou when he became the fifth ever U.S. Inaugural Poet. In this slim book, Blanco, the son of Cuban immigrants and the first openly gay poet to read at a presidential inauguration, uses prose as lovely as his poetry to describe his path to this historic day. Given only three weeks to write three poems for the inauguration, the poet composed “One Today”(the one ultimately chosen by the committee to be read), “Mother Country,” and “What We Know of Country.” All three poems are included in both Spanish and English, as well as a fourth poem titled “America”. Blanco ends recognizing his new role as a public figure and he hopes for a day when poetry can once again become an important part of American folklore and consciousness. Thanks to Blanco’s intelligent, open, and honest reflections, this book will make Americans’ heart swell with pride and patriotism in the most genuine way. — Publishers Weekly


All readings are free and open to the public. IUPUI’s University Library is located at 755 W. Michigan St. The Herron School of Art and Design is located at 735 W. New York St. Visitor parking is available in the North Street Garage, 819 W. North St. and the Vermont Street Garage, 1004 W. Vermont Street. For parking information on the IUPUI campus, visit For more information about the series, contact Terry Kirts at or (317) 274-8929.



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