Ellen Robbins Poetry Forum

Sponsored by the Ulster Community College Foundation, The Poetry Forum is an annual event which brings well known and award winning poets to SUNY Ulster for intimate question and answer sessions, as well as a special evening reading of their poetry.  In 2007, the program was renamed the Ellen Robbins Poetry Forum to honor the memory of Ellen Robbins (1952-2006) who was on the faculty at SUNY Ulster from 1994 until 2006, and Chair of the English department, 2002-2006.
 

2017 Poetry Forum Guest


Taylor Mali

Thursday, April 6
10:15 - 11:30 am
College Lounge, Vanderlyn Hall


Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali 

 

New York City performance poet Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.” He is a four-time National Poetry Slam champion and the author of four books, including “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World.”

Since 1998, over one thousand people have become teachers after reading or listening to Taylor Mali’s passionate poems about his experiences teaching middle school, high school, and college. To mark the achievement, he donated 12 inches of his hair to the American Cancer Society.

New York City performance poet Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.” He is a four-time National Poetry Slam champion and the author of four books, including “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World.”

Since 1998, over one thousand people have become teachers after reading or listening to Taylor Mali’s passionate poems about his experiences teaching middle school, high school, and college. To mark the achievement, he donated 12 inches of his hair to the American Cancer Society. 

 


 Past Poets


2016: Aja Monet
Poet, Performer, Singer, Songwriter, Educator, and Human Rights Advocate
Tuesday, April 5
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
College Lounge, Vanderlyn Hall

Aja Monet

Aja Monet

 

Aja Monet was the youngest individual to win the Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam title at the age of 19. She is recognized for combining her spellbinding voice and powerful imagery on stage, captivating audiences in the United States, France, the UK, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bermuda, and Cuba.Monet has performed at the Town Hall Theater, the Apollo Theater, the United Nations in New York City, and the NAACP’s Barack Obama Inaugural Event in Washington, D.C. In 2014, she was awarded the YWCA of the City of New York’s ONE TO WATCH AWARD—an award in honor of Monet’s work to honor women under the age of 30 who exemplify the mission of the organization, to empower women and eliminate racism.

 


2015: Tina Chang, Brooklyn Poet Laureate
Thursday, April 23, 2015 
11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 
College Lounge

Tina ChangTina Chang

 

Tina Chang is the first woman named as Brooklyn Poet Laureate. She is the author of the poetry collections Half-Lit Houses and Of Gods & Strangers; and co-editor of the acclaimed W.W. Norton anthology, Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond.

Her poems have been published in American PoeMcSweeney’sThe New York Times, and Ploughshares among others. She has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, and New York Foundation for the Arts, Poets & Writers. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and is also a member of the international writing faculty at the City University of Hong Kong, the first low-residency MFA program to be established in Asia.

Sponsored in part by the Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc.

To read more about Tina Chang, click here.



2014: Richard Blanco
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 
1:15 p.m. in the College Lounge

photo of Richard Blanco Richard Blanco

 

Reading by Richard Blanco, the Fifth Inaugural Poet of the United States and acclaimed Cuban-American Poet.

Joe Donahue, host of WAMC's Book Show and Roundtable, will interview the author and moderate the audience discussion.

Born in Madrid, Blanco immigrated as an infant with his Cuban-exile family to the U.S. A practicing engineer, writer and poet since 1991, Blanco has lived and worked throughout Europe and South America. He has taught at Georgetown University, American University, Writer’s Center and Central Connecticut State University.

Blanco is the author of Books One Today (2013), Boston Strong (2013), and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey (2013), Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012),Directions to the Beach of the Dead (2005), and City of a Hundred Fires (1998). He has received numerous honors for his writings and performances. His poems have appeared in countless literary journals and anthologies.

In 2013, Blanco was chosen to serve as the Fifth Inaugural Poet of the United States, following in the footsteps as such great writers as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. Blanco performed One Today, an original poem he wrote for the occasion, becoming the youngest, first Latino, immigrant and openly gay writer to hold the honor.

Following the inauguration, he continued connecting communities through occasional poetry. He has written and performed occasional poems for such organizations asFreedom to Marry, the Tech Awards and the Fragrance Awards.

In May of 2013, Blanco wrote Boston Strong, an occasional poem he performed at the TD Boston Garden Benefit Concert and at a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Following his performances, he released a limited edition Boston Strong chapbook, with all proceeds going to those most affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

 


2013: Jorie Graham
Thursday, April 11, 2013 
10:10 a.m.
College Lounge, Vanderlyn Hall

photo of Jorie Graham

Jorie Graham 

 

Author of numerous collections of poetry including “Selected Poems: 1974-1994” which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. 

With her many collections of poetry, it has been said that Jorie Graham has invented a new poetic language – at once lyrical and analytical, sensuous and philosophical.  Rejecting the conventional lyric, Graham creates poems that range across the page and across the human experiences, dramas of faith, perception and emotion. 

She is currently the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University.  She served as the American Chancellor of American Poets from 1997 to 2003. Learn more by visiting Jorie Graham's website.

 


2011: Michael Dickman

 dickman

Michael Dickman

 

His first collection, THE END OF THE WEST, was heralded as a brilliant debut where "his poetry breathes in the entire world, its delights, cruelty, boredom and yet breathes out a prayer". Michael Dickman was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. His poems have appeared in "The New Yorker" and "The American Poetry Review".
He has received Fellowships from Michener Center in Austin, Texas, the Vermont Studio Center and the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton.

Sponsored by the Student Government Organization and the Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc.

 


2010: U.S. Poet Laureate & Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Ted Kooser
Thursday, April 22
10:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Vanderlyn Hall, Student Lounge

Ted KooserTed Kooser


Two-time United States Poet Laureate (2004-2006) and Pulitzer Prize-winner (2005), Ted Kooser is the highly esteemed poet from Nebraska.  A professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kooser is the author of eleven full-length collections of poetry. He has won numerous poetry prizes and two NEA fellowships in poetry. His work is known for its clarity, precision and accessibility.
    
The poet will hold a morning session at 10:30 am in the Student Lounge to meet with students and the public and talk about his work and answer questions. He will return at 7:00 pm for a reading from his works and a reception, again in the Student Lounge.

The evening reading is open to the public with a suggested donation of $8.00.
Sponsored by the Student Government Organization and the Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc. 

 


2009: Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Charles Simic

Charles Simic

Charles Simic

 

Charles Simic, hailed as one of America’s finest poets and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, is scheduled to be reading his poems at Ulster County Community College's Ellen Robbins Poetry Forum on April 30, 2009.  
     
Poet, essayist and translator, Charles Simic is the author of over 60 books, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and recently recognized as the 15th United States poet laureate. His poetry ranges from the surreal and metaphysical to the sardonic and outrageous to the direct expressions of emotion and memory. Simic will lead a morning discussion at 10:30 am in the Student Lounge in Vanderlyn Hall, and present an evening reading of his poems at 7:00 pm. This event is sponsored by the Student Government Organization and the Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc.

Simic, born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1938, has emerged as an outstandingly original American poet, drawing on his Eastern European background for many of his images and themes. Simic’s poetry ranges from the surreal and metaphysical to sardonic and outrageous to direct expressions of emotion and memory. 

Simic has produced over 60 books of poetry, several of which have won major awards. The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems (1990) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; Classic Ballroom Dances (1980) won the Harriet Monroe Award; Walking the Black Cat (1996) was a National Book Award finalist; Jackstraws (1999) was a New York Times Notable Book; and Selected Poems: 1963-2003 (2004) received the 2005 International Griffin Poetry Prize. He has been honored with a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (often called the “genius award”), a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, among numerous other honors. In 1995 Simic was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2000 became a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

 


Past Guests of the Poetry Forum (by Year)

2016: Aja Monet
2015: Tina Chang
2014: Richard Blanco
2013: Jorie Graham
2011: Michael Dickman
2010: Ted Kooser
2009: Charles Simic
2008: Naomi Shihab Nye
2006: Yusef Komunyakaa 
2005: Jane Hirshfield 
2004: Michael McClure 
2003: Marge Piercy 
2002: Kenneth Koch 
2001: Robert Creeley 
2000: Robert Bly
1999: Galway Kinnell 
1998: Donald Hall
1997: Maxine Kumin 
1996: Carolyn Forché 
1994: Sharon Olds & Local Area Poets

VISIT CAMPUS

FIND PROGRAMS

APPLY NOW

REGISTER NOW

Upcoming Events

©