Ernest Sandeen Memorial Reading with Claudia Rankine & Solmaz Sharif


Location: McKenna Hall Auditorium


There is a Q&A with Claudia at 3:30 pm on January 26th in room 100-104 McKenna Hall--Everyone is welcome!

This biannual literary event commemorates our esteemed colleague, the poet, scholar and teacher, Ernest Sandeen. A distinguished senior poet is invited to give the reading and selects a younger poet to read alongside him or her, thus honoring both Ernest Sandeen’s accomplishment as a poet and his many decades of mentorship at the University of Notre Dame. In this spirit, Claudia Rankine has selected the poet Solmaz Sharif to join her for this reading.

Claudia Rankine, the recipient of a 2016 MacArthur ‘genius’ grant, is the author of five collections of poetry including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; and numerous video collaborations. She is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind and America Poets int the 21st Century. For Citizen, Rankine won the Forward Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the NAACP Image Award. A finalist for the National Book Award, Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the non-fiction category. Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in New York City and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry.

Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and others. The former managing director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, her work has been recognized with a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, scholarships the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a winter fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, an NEA fellowship, and a Stegner Fellowship. She has most recently been selected to receive a 2014 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award as well as a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. She is currently a lecturer at Stanford University. Her first poetry collection, LOOK, published by Graywolf Press in 2016, is a finalist for the National Book Award.


A poet, scholar, and longtime professor at Notre Dame, Ernest Sandeen (1908-1997) published poems in such journals as Hudson Review, The New Yorker, Prairie Schooner, Sewanee Review, Iowa 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.

Sandeen set an exemplary standard for teaching at Notre Dame and his dedication is warmly remembered. He convened 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 Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, writing his dissertation on Ralph Waldo Emerson.


The second annual Ernest Sandeen Memorial Reading is funded by the Ernest Sandeen Endowment and the Sturtevant Fund and is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program, the Department of English, the Office of the Provost’s Distinguished Women Lecturers Fund, American Studies, Multicultural Student Programs and Services, Letras Latinas, Institute for Latino Studies, Gender Studies, First Year of Studies, Africana Studies, the Department of Art, Art History and Design, and the Center for Social Concerns.

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