By Reid Oslin
Popular nature essayist Barry Lopez and Native American activist Sherman Alexie head up an eclectic list of writers, poets and classical interpreters who will deliver this semesterís Lowell Lectures as part of the Boston College Humanities Series.
The series, now in its 42nd year, began its spring schedule last night in Gasson Hall with a lecture by Visiting Prof. Richard Kearney (Philosophy) on "Transfiguring God."
In addition to Lopez, who will speak on Feb. 24, and Alexie (April 13), the spring lectures include Mark Doty (March 23), a poet who has written extensively about AIDS, and contemporary translator Stanley Lombardo (April 5), who will read from the works of Homer.
All lectures will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Gasson 100, with the exception of the April 5 lecture, which will be held in Devlin 101. Admission is free.
"We try to get speakers who are both prominent and who will prove to be inspirational to both our students and to the general public," said Prof. Paul Doherty (English), director of the Humanities Series.
Lopez, writer of more than a dozen books on the interrelation between the physical landscape and human culture, won the National Book Award for his most recent effort, Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape.
Doty, who uses the death of his companion as the subject of many of his writings, is considered by many to be the greatest American confessional poet since Robert Lowell, according to Doherty.
Lombardo, a professor of classical studies at the University of Kansas, is known for his dramatic reading performances of the works of Homer, Doherty said.
The lecture by Alexie will be his only appearance in the Boston area this year, Doherty said. A member of the Spokane/Coeur díAlene Indian tribe, Alexie is a prolific poet, short-story writer and novelist. He wrote and co-produced the 1998 film "Smoke Signals," which was based on his short stories.
"He is probably the best known Native American writer of the day," said Doherty. "He is not unlike Elie Wiesel in his efforts to make the Indian statement one that is heard by all Americans."
Since their inception, the Lowell Lectures have
brought some of the worldís most eminent award-winning writers, artists
and thinkers - including T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, John Kenneth Galbraith
and Maya Angelou - to the Boston College campus.
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