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COC to host acclaimed war poet

U.S. Army veteran Brian Turner to headline 2013 humanities speaker series

Posted: February 13, 2013 12:52 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2013 12:52 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA — The College of the Canyons Humanities Division will kick off its annual Celebrating the Humanities program by hosting a powerful presentation by award-winning war poet and U.S. Army veteran Brian Turner, as the first in a series of events and activities meant to help engage community members in the humanities.

With events taking place on campus throughout the spring semester, Celebrating the Humanities will feature presentations from college faculty members specializing in subjects including English, philosophy, cinema, modern language, music, political science and sociology.

This year, each of the presentations will be related to the overarching theme: The Good Life: Value, Time, and Meaning.

As the program’s launch event, the college will host acclaimed war poet Brian Turner for a reading of his work centered on military life, and the transition back into the civilian world, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, in Hasley Hall, Room 101, located on the college’s Valencia campus.

Author of the critically acclaimed poetry collections “Here, Bullet” — a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection based on his time spent as an infantry team leader deployed in Iraq — and “Phantom Noise,” Turner has also been featured in publications including Poetry Daily, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Georgia Review, among others.

Described in The New Yorker as a war poet who “sidesteps classic distinction between romance and irony, opting instead for the surreal,” Turner’s works have also received a number of prestigious literary awards and nominations in recent years, including the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award and the 2007 Poets Prize.

In 2010 “Phantom Noise” was short-listed for the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry by the Poetry Book Society in England. Last year, Turner was awarded a fellowship in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Japan - U.S. Friendship Commission Creative Artist Program.

“Mr. Turner’s experience as a poet and veteran will open up the dialogue about how significant events in one’s life — like serving your country — can help bring about a greater sense of meaning in their existence,” said Jia-Yi Cheng-Levine, chair of the COC English department. “More importantly, it demonstrates how someone can reflect on their experience through literature, and in the process connect with others who may not have words to express themselves.”

The 2013 Celebrating the Humanities program will continue throughout the spring semester, with additional events and activities expected to be formally announced in the coming weeks.

All Celebrating the Humanities events are free and open to the public, however seating may be limited.

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