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Poet Bob Watts and fiction writer Stephanie Powell Watts will give a reading 4:10 p.m. today in the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights auditorium.

Sponsored by the English department, the event is free and open to the public.

“Both writers are engaging and dynamic,” says Lee Upton, writer-in-residence and professor of English. “Bob Watts writes poetry that is highly crafted and remarkably observant. Stephanie Powell Watts writes fiction that examines with humor and social insight the many ways that identities are constructed and tested.

“Their visit to Lafayette will give students an opportunity not only to hear new voices, but to ask both writers questions about their processes as writers. We are excited about bringing to Lafayette these dedicated and generous writers whose commitment to their art may serve as an inspiration to our students.”

Bob Watts, professor of practice of English at Lehigh University, is a founding co-editor of Center: A Journal of Literary Arts. His poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Pembroke, and Southern Poetry Review. His new book, Past Providence, is a winner of the Stanzas Prize. He received his Ph.D. from University of Missouri-Columbia.

His teaching and research interests include creative writing, poetry and prosody, literary theory, 19th century British literature, the literature of WWI, and nature writing. His recent research includes an examination of the place of contemporary literary theory in the practice of prosody, the study of the metrical structure of verse.

Stephanie Powell Watts is assistant professor of English and creative writing at Lehigh University. Her publications have appeared in Mangrove, Obsidian III, and The African-American Review. She writes creative non-fiction as well as fiction, and has completed a novel and is working on a memoir. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, where she was a Gus T. Ridgel fellow.

She teaches courses on the legacies of exclusion and alienation in the works of contemporary women and minority writers. The main characters in these works are typically border figures — persons who both are and are not of an accepted class or
group. These characters are usually the locus of disruption for the society, the very definition of deviance, monstrosity, and magic for the dominant group.

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