Sandeen Reading: Philip Levine & Christina Pugh


Location: McKenna Hall Auditorium

The English Department is pleased to announce that the readers of the inaugural Ernest Sandeen Memorial Reading are Philip Levine and Christina Pugh.  A hallmark of the Sandeen reading series is that the senior poet who is selected is asked to choose a younger poet to read with him or her on the same evening, thereby honoring the memory of Ernest Sandeen, who is renowned both as a poet and a teacher for many decades at the University of Notre Dame. Levine and Pugh will share the microphone on November 5, 2014 in the McKenna Hall auditorium at 7:30 pm.


Philip Levine published his debut collection of poems, On the Edge (The Stone Wall Press), in 1963, followed by Not This Pig (Wesleyan University Press) in 1968. Since then, Levine has published numerous books of poetry, most recently News of the World (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010); Breath (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004); The Mercy (Alfred A. Knopf, 1999); The Simple Truth (Alfred A. Knopf, 1994), which won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize; What Work Is (Alfred A. Knopf, 1991), which won the 1991 National Book Award; New Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1991); Ashes: Poems New and Old (Atheneum, 1979), which received the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the first American Book Award for Poetry; 7 Years From Somewhere (Atheneum, 1979), which won the 1979 National Book Critics Circle Award; The Names of the Lost (1975), which won the 1977 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets; and They Feed They Lion (Alfred A. Knopf, 1973). 

Levine has received the Frank O’Hara Prize, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation. For two years he served as chair of the Literature Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts.

He taught for many years at California State University, Fresno, and has served as Distinguished Poet in Residence for the Creative Writing Program at New York University. In 2000, Levine was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. And, in 2011, Levine was named the 18th US Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress. Most recently, he received the 2013 Wallace Stevens Award for proven mastery in the art of poetry by the Academy of American Poets.


Christina Pugh is consulting editor for Poetry and an associate professor in the Program for Writers (the doctoral program in creative writing) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her third book of poems, Grains of the Voice (Northwestern University Press, 2013), draws on the work of Roland Barthes and the sonnet tradition in order to investigate contemporary facets of sound, speech, and song. She is also the author of Restoration (TriQuarterly Books, 2008) and Rotary (Word Press, 2004), as well as the chapbook Gardening at Dusk (Wells College Press, 2002). Her poems have appeared in journals such as the Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, and in anthologies such as Poetry 180 (2003). 

Ernest Sandeen published poems in such journals as Hudson Review, The New Yorker, Prairie Schooner, Sewanee Review, Iowa Review, PN Review, and Poetry.  His Collected Poems (1977) includes work from three earlier volumes: Antennas of Silence (1953), Children and Older Strangers (1962), and Like Any Road Anywhere (1976).  A Later Day, Another Year, was published in 1989 and Can These Bones Live?, appeared in 1994. He retired from teaching at the University of Notre Dame in 1978. His Collected Poems 1953-1994 was published in 2001. The Chicago Tribune wrote, on his death in 1997: 

Professor Sandeen taught at Notre Dame for 50 years. Among the honors he won there as a teacher was the 1976 College of Arts and Letters Sheedy Award.

He liked to convene his poetry writing classes in the living room of his home, where he and his wife, Eileen, were the hosts of countless dinners that became legendary among students.

A native of Warren County, Ill., near Galesburg, professor Sandeen graduated from Knox College in 1931 and won a fellowship to Oxford University. He earned a PhD from the University of Iowa, writing his dissertation on Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The Ernest Sandeen Memorial Reading is funded by the Ernest Sandeen Endowment, the Sturtevant Fund and The Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Henkels Lectures Fund and additional funding from the Creative Writing Program, and the Department of English at the University of Notre Dame.

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