UMKC Hosts 2009 Carolyn Benton Cockefair Chair Lecture SeriesAward-winning poet C.D. Wright visits UMKC

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Carolyn Benton Cockefair Chair in Continuing Education and the Department of English present the 2009 Cockefair Chair Writer-in-Residence, C.D. Wright. Wright will speak at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 10 at the University Center, Pierson Auditorium. No reservations are required for this free event.

Robert Stewart, editor of New Letters magazine, will present a welcome. Hadara Bar-Nadav, assistant professor of poetry at UMKC, will introduce Wright. A public reception, book sale and signing will follow the reading.

UMKC’s poetry writing faculty will host a symposium on Wright’s work at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 11 at the Kansas City Public Library’s Helzberg Auditorium, Central Branch, 14 W. 10th Street. The symposium will discuss the trajectory of a poet’s development, the collaborative nature of Wright’s work, the relationship between poetry and the political life of a country and what Wright means when she suggests that “poetry doesn’t protect you anymore.” A book sale and signing will follow the symposium. Reservations are required for this free event, and can be made by calling 816-701-3407.

Born and raised in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas, C.D. Wright has written a dozen collections of poetry and prose. Her most recent book, “Rising, Falling, Hovering,” prompted The New York Times to write: “C.D. Wright belongs to a school of exactly one.”

Wright teaches at Providence, R.I.-based Brown University and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Bunting Institute. She has received a Lannan Foundation award, the Witter Bynner Prize and a Whiting Writers’ award. In 1994, she was named Poet Laureate of Rhode Island – a five-year post. With her husband, poet Forrest Gander, she edits Lost Roads Publishers.

The Carolyn Benton Cockefair Chair in Continuing Education Series, formed in 1966 by Carolyn Benton Cockefair’s former students, has brought such intellectuals as Tess Gallagher, James Michener, Jeane Kirkpatrick, John Updike and Tom Wolfe to Kansas City. Its purpose is to continue what Cockefair started when she first came to the then University of Kansas City in 1947.

Throughout her 17 years at the University, Cockefair drew a following from students and non-credited students who were attracted to her Socratic style of teaching and her ability to link history to current events.

Upcoming Carolyn Benton Cockefair Chair Courses:

“Theatre Artists in the Great War, 1914-1918”

Three lectures

Felicia Londré, a Curator’s professor in UMKC Theater

10:30 a.m.-noon

Tuesdays, Feb.17, 24 and March 3

UMKC Administrative Center, Plaza Room, 5115 Oak Street

Cost: $34

Description: The first session will offer an overview of the Great War through American eyes of the 1910s, including the responses of theatre people, such as Irving Berlin, Al Jolson and the Stage Women’s War Relief. Session two will focus on Sarah Bernhardt’s last American tour, and how her performances affected American attitudes. The third session will study American performers, such as Elsie Janis, who entertained the troops. This last session will cover playwrights and plays about the war, including the war’s effect on Broadway, American people and theatre.

“Masterpieces of Western Architecture: Karnak to Le Corbusier to Contemporary Examples”

Four lectures

Theodore Seligson, an award-winning architect, urban designer and visiting professor in the UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design

12:30-2 p.m.

March 12, 19, 26 and April 2

UMKC Administrative Center, Plaza Room, 5115 Oak Street

Cost: $45

Description: For more than 40 years, Seligson managed a Kansas City architecture firm. He has been instrumental in establishing the preservation of significant U.S. structures, and has taught and lectured at several universities.

This course uses paradigms of Western architecture to better inform participants so that they may establish a criterion for understanding and judging architecture. The Temple of Karnak in Egypt and le Corbusier’s chapel in Ronchamp, France are two examples of architecture that will be discussed. The fundamental elements that shape our perception of the built environment will be emphasized. These elements include form of space and mass; light, shade and shadow; synthesis of concepts; meaning; and symbolism.

“Shakespeare’s ‘Merriest’ Comedy: ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’”

Four lectures

Robert F. Wilson, Jr., Professor Emeritus in the UMKC

Department of English

10:30 a.m. to noon April 7, 14, 21 and 28

UMKC Administrative Center, Plaza Room, 5115 Oak Street

Cost: $45

Description: In anticipation of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s summer production of this comedy, we will explore the plot, characters and themes of “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Was the play written to capitalize on the popularity of Sir John Falstaff, one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing comic types? Was it composed at Queen Elizabeth’s bidding because she was so taken by the rotund clown that she longed to see him fall in love? Or was this Shakespeare’s tribute to the citizens of Windsor, whom he wished to celebrate as England’s staunch middle class? The course will attempt to answer these questions, as well as examine such conventions of Shakespearean comedy as farce, disguise, mistaken identity and the social vacuum. The BBC-TV’s 1981 production with Ben Kingsley as Mr. Ford and Richard Griffiths as Falstaff will serve as a visual aid.

Space is limited. Only paid pre-registration assures a seat in the class. To purchase tickets, call 816-235-2736.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Celebrating 75 years, UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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