Baker grad to read latest poetry book

02/22/08

A Baker graduate is scheduled to share work from his latest book of poetry in the upcoming Sesquicentennial Reading Series.

Donald Levering graduated from Baker University and went on to get a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University. He is the author of eight books, and his awards include the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant in Poetry. Levering also taught on a Navajo reservation.

Instructor of English Marti Mihalyi said she's excited to have Levering speak not only because he is an alumnus, but also because she's known him for a long time and visited him while he worked on the reservation. Mihalyi said Levering would be reading from his latest book titled "Whose Body" at 7 p.m. Thursday in Owens Audio-Visual room.

"It is a joy to offer students live readings by authors who always are able to bring a unique perspective to their work," Mihalyi said.

Dean Bevan, a retired English professor who taught at Baker for 31 years, said he had Levering in his class. Levering was also the student editor of the literary magazine. Bevan said one of their first tasks was to pick a new name for the magazine and Levering suggested "Watershed," which is still being used today.

"He was a flourishing poet and a good student," Bevan said. "He revived the creative writing club and held meetings every week. A lot of students were interested in the club."

Mihalyi said she decided to start the reading series two years ago even though she was just a part-time professor. She said since the creative writing program has grown, the classes, whether it is poetry, fiction or non-fiction writing, have been filling up every semester.

"I felt we owed it to the students to bring fine writers directly to campus each year," Mihalyi said.

Since this year is Baker's 150th year, the reading series will have four installments of readers instead of the regular two Mihalyi said. She said last semester the authors included both fiction and non-fiction authors, and the events were very well attended.

"The students actively participated by asking questions after and gave the writers a warm reception," Mihalyi said. "Many of the students reported that it was one of the highlights of the year for them."

Junior Ashley Sims said she has attended three readings in the past, one of which she performed in. She said they provide a richer experience on campus.

"The reading series is one more area of art that can be offered, and there are a lot of students interested in literature, and it is really cool to have professional writers visit campus," she said.

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