Brotherly connection for poet

12:00:03 PM CDT - Wednesday, April 04, 2007

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

Poet Kevin Prufer has been looking forward to spending a month in WSU's creative writing program - and spending time with two people he admires: a major American poet and his older brother, both of whom are on the WSU faculty.

Prufer, an award-winning poet living in Warrensburg, Mo., will give a reading at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5, at 203 Rhatigan Student Center from his unpublished book, "National Anthem," set to release in 2008, and his most recent book, "Fallen from a Chariot," published in 2005.

While at WSU from March 26 until April 20, Prufer, who has earned awards for his writings, will work with students in WSU's creative writing program.

Prufer has visited Wichita in the past to spend time with his brother, Keith, who is on WSU's anthropology faculty and who recently uncovered in a Belize cave what is perhaps the oldest canoe ever found in Mesoamerica. The brothers share a family interest in archaeology, not surprising since their father is a well-known archaeologist who studies Hopewell cultures. While Keith studies archaeology in a scientific way, Kevin has found ways to incorporate it in his writing.

"I wrote about it a lot in my first book," said Kevin Prufer.

His three books carry titles that could be construed as having archaeological ties: "Strange Wood" (1998), "The Finger Bone" (2002) and "Fallen from a Chariot."

Prufer said he is looking forward to being a part of WSU's creative writing program for a month.

"I'm a huge admirer of Al Goldbarth," said Prufer, "so it'll be great to work alongside a major American poet."

Goldbarth, a distinguished faculty member at WSU, is a two-time winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. Prufer is vice president/secretary of the National Book Critics Circle.

Prufer, an English professor at the University of Central Missouri, is editor of Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing, an international magazine of poetry, fiction, essays and reviews; and associate editor of American Book Review.

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