Delta State to welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning poet to campus, Oct. 10

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There is an obvious distinction that comes with winning a Pulitzer Prize. Equally, there is an understandable distinction that comes in hosting a Pulitzer Prize winner on a University campus.

Delta State University will have such a distinction Wednesday, Oct. 10, as the Cleveland campus welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey for a reading inside Jobe Hall Auditorium. Immediately following the reading, Trethewey will be available for book signings.

A reception will precede the reading in the atrium of Kent Wyatt Hall from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
A native of Gulfport, this will be Trethewey’s first visit to an institution of higher learning in her native state since winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2007.

“Professor Trethewey joins a long list of Mississippians that have won the Pulitzer Prize – everyone from William Faulkner to the staffs of ‘The Clarion Ledger’ and ‘The Biloxi Sun-Herald,’ to Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty and Beth Henley,” offered D. Allan Mitchell, assistant professor of English at Delta State and one of Trethewey’s current students. “What’s great about her is her grace and kindness. She is one of the finest teachers I have ever had, and there is no better ambassador for poetry or for Mississippi than Natasha Trethewey.”

Her most recent collection of poems, “Native Guard,” (Houghton Mifflin 2006) earned her the prestigious Pulitzer, as well as the 2007 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize.
Her first poetry collection, “Domestic Work” (Graywolf Press, 2000), won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize (selected by Rita Dove), a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.
Her follow-up collection, “Bellocq’s Ophelia” (Graywolf, 2002) received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, was a finalist for both the Academy of American Poets’ James Laughlin and Lenore Marshall prizes and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association.
Her work has appeared in “The Best American Poetry 2000” and again in 2003, and in journals such as “Agni,” “American Poetry Review,” “Callaloo,” “Gettysburg Review,” “Kenyon Review,” “New England Review,” and “The Southern Review,” among others.
She has a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
She has taught at Auburn University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Duke University where she was the 2005-2006 Lehman Brady Joint Chair and Professor of Documentary and American Studies. Trethewey is currently the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair of Poetry at Emory University in Atlanta.
Both events are open and free to the public.

Yearly Peavine Awards announced, Ceremony set for Oct. 4

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As part of Delta State University’s “Year of Delta Heritage,” the ninth annual Peavine Awards will celebrate excellence in the Delta Blues on Thursday, Oct. 4.

According to historian Steve LaVere, founder of the Peavines, “This year’s awards will honor three Delta Bluesmen who created a unique Blues sound – John Lee Hooker, Earl Hooker and Tony Hollins.”

The celebration will be at the Grapeland Grill on Highway 61 in Cleveland, starting at 7:30 and feature live Blues by Bill “Howlin’ Mad” Perry and his Blues Band along with the awards ceremony, itself.  
To be sponsored and funded by Coopwood Communications of Cleveland, the event is free and open to the public.
John Lee Hooker was born in Clarksdale in 1917. He recorded several solo albums, and also played with Mose Allison, Albert King, Bonnie Raitt and the rock group, Canned Heat, among others.
Earl Hooker was John Lee Hooker’s cousin. He was also born in Clarksdale, but spent his childhood in Chicago before returning to Clarksdale to play with Ike Turner. His early influences included Robert Nighthawk and Sonny Boy Williamson.
The two Hookers had radically different approaches to the Blues. John Lee’s approach involved driving beat and monotonous chords while Earl Hooker specialized in the slide guitar, bending notes to sound like the human voice.
Also a native of Clarksdale, Tony Hollins was the oldest of the three, having been born in 1900. He wrote some of the music that John Lee Hooker appropriated as his own, including the famous “Crawlin’ Kingsnake Blues” and “Traveling Man Blues.”  
The Peavine Awards were founded at Delta State in 1998 to honor the memory of the Delta’s great Blues musicians. Each year since, they have remembered the work of two to three performers, with special awards for festivals and Blues researchers.
For information about this event or the Peavine Awards, please contact the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at (662) 846-4311.

Delta State taking preventative measures to ensure Travis E. Parker Field remains fan-friendly, family-friendly

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 Delta State University will be taking proactive and preventative measures to ensure each fan’s positive experience at future athletic events. University officials outlined nine new initiatives to the end today.

In response to last Saturday’s altercation following Delta State University’s 9-7 victory over Henderson State University inside Travis E. Parker Field, University administrators, in conjunction with the Delta State Police Department, are taking proactive and preventative measures to ensure each fan’s positive experience at future athletic events.

“Our athletic venues have consistently had a reputation for fan-friendliness and family-friendliness,” explained Dr. Wayne Blansett, Vice President of Student Affairs. “We are taking the necessary steps to ensure a quality outing continues for all those in attendance. That is our obligation as the host institution.”
Beginning with the Statesmen’s next home football contest, Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m., fans can expect the following nine measures to be enforced. Pre-game tailgating activities will be moved from behind the visitor’s section to inside Statesmen Park, located at the north end of the football field. The Delta State Police will also have an increased presence at the contest, including a tent set-up in the middle of Statesmen Park.
At each entry point of the stadium, all carry-ins will be monitored and searched, if necessary. Additionally, the Delta State student section will be relocated from the east side of the field to the west. All east side seating (the visitor’s section) will be closed to all Delta State fans.
Increased security personnel will now patrol both the east and west stands. Any fans guilty of disruptive behavior will be escorted out of the venue, and those in violation of the law will be arrested.
Police department personnel will also be stationed in the parking lots following the ball game.
In conjunction with Delta State’s Student Government Association and leadership of the Greek organizations, the University is also implementing a campaign with the at-large student body to be better hosts with visiting fans.
Lastly, Delta State is initiating a mail-out to season ticket-holders to be sure they are aware of changes that will occur.
“We want to be diligent in preventing any other incidents from happening in the future,” Blansett continued. “I feel these measures will aid in that goal, and we thank our fans and various supporters for adhering to our new policies.”

Justice Lamar visits Delta State

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Associate Justice Ann H. Lamar (2nd from right) visits with Delta State Family and Consumer Science majors (from left) Jane Critz Pillow of Greenwood; Laura Beth Scipper of Hernando; Dr. Jan Haynes (standing), Delta State Chair of the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Natalie Pickard (at right) of Biloxi. Lamar graduated Delta State in 1974, with a degree in Home Economics in Education.

Justice Lamar returned to her alma mater to present a lecture, sponsored by Delta State University’s Madison Center, in honor of the anniversary of the adoption date of the U.S. Constitution, which was Sept. 17, 1787.
In her presentation, Lamar emphasized the importance of the Constitution, as a living, breathing document, and stressed that each American know the document and the rights the Constitution afford them. The presentation was held in the Jacob Conference Center in Ewing Hall on the campus.

A native of Senatobia, Justice Lamar was appointed to the Mississippi Supreme Court May 21, 2007, becoming the third woman to serve on the State’s Supreme Court.

The Madison Center, under the direction of Dr. Garry Jennings, is Delta State University’s center for the study of democracy, human rights and the constitution.