English Department Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Alumni Reunion April 13-14

Alums, lit stars, popular faculty, emeritus profs will get to talk, celebrate and kick back around town

Release Date: March 30, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- They're coming and there are a lot of them: lawyers, journalists, businessmen and -women, professors, poets, playwrights, teachers, literary scholars, moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas -- all of them among the more than 20,000 students who have graduated from the University at Buffalo's stellar Department of English with a BA, MA or PhD since UB was incorporated into the State University of New York in 1962.

On April 13-14 the grads will be in Buffalo to attend the UB English Department Alumni Reunion which will celebrate the department's 50th anniversary as a SUNY program,

English department chair, SUNY Distinguished Professor Cristanne Miller says, "We're hoping for a robust turnout, especially of local alums."

All events, except the alumni reading at the Albright Knox Art Gallery (details are below), require preregistration and a fee of $135. To register, email UBEnglishReunion@buffalo.edu. Details and program updates about the reunion can be found at http://english.buffalo.edu/reunion/.

The reunion will offer a number of unique events, on and off campus, including a tour of the UB Poetry Collection exhibit, "Literary Buffalo 1960-1980," featuring little magazines and manuscripts written or produced by UB poets in the collection.

There also will be a guided tour of the thematically related Albright-Knox Art Gallery exhibition, "Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-Garde in the 1970s," which draws heavily on the work of UB faculty members in the visual arts, film, video, performance, literature and music, all of whom produced critically important, internationally recognized works that remain classics in their fields: Paul Sharits, Tony Conrad, Steina and Woody Vasulka, John Barth, Robert Creeley, Leslie Fiedler, Lejaren Hiller, Morton Feldman and Jan Williams.

The private tour will be followed by a free public reading featuring a few of the hundreds of alumni with UB degrees who have established literary careers: award-winning novelist, poet, short-story writer and essayist Charles Baxter, Edelstein-Keller Professor of Writing, University of Minnesota; Michael Basinski, curator of the UB Poetry Collection and a text, visual and sound poet; poet and editor David Landrey, professor emeritus of the Buffalo State College English Department, who studied at UB with Charles Olson; up-and-coming poet Marina Blitshteyn, who just published her first book of poems, "Russian for Lovers;" and O'Henry Prize-winning novelist and critic Eliott Krieger.

On Saturday, April 14, alumni will have the opportunity to go "back to class" with acclaimed and wildly popular professors Diane Christian, Robert Daly and Neil Schmitz, who will discuss subjects they have taught for decades, and lively interactive "workshop" discussions with faculty members Barbara Bono, Stacy Hubbard, Cristanne Miller, Christina Milletti and David Schmid on a variety of topics.

The program also will feature a panel and discussion, "Why English?," with current undergraduate English majors, and a roundtable discussion, "Why Read? Why Write?," with UB alumni. A reception for past and current students and faculty will follow, as will a reunion dinner of traditional Lebanese cuisine at Byblos, 270 Campbell Blvd., Getzville.

The program also will offer a slide show of former students and faculty members with photographs going back to 1954, the unveiling of a collage of book covers published by department alums and a used book sale to benefit current English majors.

Faculty members who will attend include emeritus professors Art Efron, Carl Dennis, Irving Massey, Howard Wolf and Max Wickert. Several other current faculty members will also attend.

Miller says, "This event promises to be a lot of fun for everyone. It will offer alums a way to reconnect with each other and with the current department, as well as to talk about issues of importance to everyone who cares about literacy in the world today, and to enjoy some of the intellectual pleasures that made their earlier experiences in the department so enjoyable."

The reunion's host hotels are the Ramada Inn and Conference Center, 2402 North Forest Rd., Getzville, and the Buffalo Niagara Marriott, 1340 Millersport Highway. Both hotels are minutes from the UB North Campus, and seven and five miles, respectively, from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

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