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Lafayette alumni poets Ross Gay ’96, Leslieann Hobayan ’95, and Yolanda Wisher ’98 will read their work at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in the auditorium of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights

The reading, sponsored by the Department of English as part of Lafayette’s celebration of National Poetry Month, is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

“These three young poets have already developed exciting and distinctive voices,” Lee Upton, professor of English and writer-in-residence, an accomplished poet and critic who is principal organizer of National Poetry Month events at Lafayette. “They’re ardent and gifted poets. We’re very excited about the prospect of bringing them back to campus for this reading. They’ll be visiting classes as well as reading their work for us. We’re grateful for their generosity and enthusiasm about this homecoming of sorts.”

The recipient of the George Wharton Pepper Prize, awarded to the Lafayette senior who “most nearly represents the Lafayette ideal,” Gay graduated with a bachelor of arts degree, double majoring in English and art. He earned honors in studio art and was a starting defensive end on the varsity football team.

Gay holds a master of fine arts degree in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and is in the third year of a Ph.D. program in literature at Temple University. His poems have appeared in Sulfur, Columbia, American Poetry Review, and Harvard Review, among others.

Hobayan graduated from Lafayette with a bachelor of arts degree in English and was the winner of H. MacKnight Black Poetry and Literature Prize as a senior. She worked briefly for an advertising firm in Manhattan before entering the master of fine arts program in poetry at Sarah Lawrence. She now teaches English at Monclair State University. Her poetry has been published in Babaylan: An Anthology of Filipina and Filipina-American Writers, Phati’tude, and The New York Quarterly.

Named the first Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Pa., in 1999, Wisher teaches 9th and 10th grade English at Germantown Friends School, Philadelphia, Pa.

Wisher graduated from Lafayette with two majors, English and a self-created interdisciplinary major in Black Studies. As a senior she won the MacKnight Black prize. She holds a master of arts degree in creative writing and poetry from Temple University, where she wrote an ambitious manuscript entitled “r-a-g,” an innovative long poem exploring the “mammy figure” against the backdrop of black language and quilting traditions.

Wisher is a cofouder of Poetry for the People, a Philadelphia-based collective that combines art and activism in public performances and volunteerism. Her poetry has appeared in Aya, The Sonia Sanchez Literary Review, the American Poetry Review’s Philly Edition ’99, Chain, Drumvoices Revue 2000, and Schuylkill. Poems are forthcoming in Meridians, Nocturnes, and Os Sacrum, an anthology of black experimental writers.

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