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September  01, 2009

Rebecca Wee ushers in the River Readings

Rebecca Wee

Introducing this year's River Readings at Augustana, associate professor of English and poet Rebecca Wee will read from her work on Thursday, September 10.

A native of Minnesota, Wee earned her MFA in poetry from George Mason University where she served as editorial assistant for Carolyn Forché's anthology Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness. In 2001, Wee published her first book Uncertain Grace with Copper Canyon Press for which she received the 2000 Hayden Carruth Award for New and Emerging Poets. Wee was selected in 2002 by then U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins to receive a Witter Bynner Fellowship. She served as poet laureate of the Quad Cities from 2003 to 2005.

Wee has published poems in The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, The Sonora Review, and other journals. Two poems are forthcoming in the Connecticut River Review. She is now working on her second collection of poetry, Instead.

Known for her attention to the details of the world around her and to the pain and joy of loss and love, Wee presents intensely lyrical poems that strike at the heart. Carolyn Forché writes that Wee gives us in her poetry, "the language of a soul finding its way."

In "Instead," Wee writes:


This hour it's grassy, leafed, fat with cold
golden light, nothing humid

the rye asway and lake waves going after their own
green joy -


or is it pure indifference?
I'm in love with whatever it is -

Director of Creative Writing at Waldorf College, Joe Wilkins, says of Wee's work, "It is said that when a poem works, you should look up from the page to find the stone stonier, the water wetter, or the cold and sleet even colder, grayer. And when you get back home, the rush of air warmer, the smell of coffee or cinnamon stronger. This is what Rebecca Wee's poetry does for me: It makes the world more than it was only a moment before."

The reading is free and open to the public and takes place Thursday, September 10, at 7 p.m. in Wallenberg Hall, inside the Denkmann building (3520 7th Ave.) on the Augustana College campus. A reception follows the reading.

The River Readings at Augustana is sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, the Institute for Leadership and Service, the Thomas Tredway Library, and the English Department at Augustana College.

The River Readings at Augustana calendar:

  • October 10, James Galvin, poetry, prose, and fiction
  • January 21, Robyn Schiff and Nick Twemlow, poetry
  • February 4, Richard Katrovas, poetry, fiction, and memoir
  • March 18, Chris Offutt, fiction and memoir
  • April 15, Daniel Woodrell, fiction