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Ohio poet laureate to read work, sign books Nov. 20

Dr. Dave Lucas is a poet on a mission.

“I don’t want to convince you that you should love poetry. I want to convince you that you already do,” he wrote in a column for the Ohio Arts Council.

Lucas

“If you know by heart the lyrics to your favorite song, you already love one kind of poetry. You love another whenever you laugh at a joke or groan over a bad pun. The jargon of your profession and the slang you speak with friends are poetry. So are the metaphors we use to describe this world we all are trying to understand.”

Lucas, who began his two-year term as Ohio poet laureate in January, will visit The University of Toledo Tuesday, Nov. 20, to talk about his love of words and read his work. The free, public event will take place at 7 p.m. in Libbey Hall.

He also will sign copies of his first collection of poetry, “Weather,” which was published in 2011 and won the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. That work also caught the attention of Rita Dove, former U.S. poet laureate, who called Lucas one of 13 “young poets to watch.”

“I’m excited we’re able to bring Dave Lucas to campus,” Dr. Benjamin Stroud, UT associate professor of English, said. “He’s not just an excellent poet, but a great advocate for poetry and, more widely, all the literary arts. He provides a great model to students — and everyone — for how to hone your own craft while also supporting the larger community of poets and writers.”

Since being named the state’s poet laureate Jan. 1, Lucas has been trying to debunk the lofty notions of the measured word.

“Poetry happens — in metaphors or jokes or in poems themselves — at that place where sound and sense blur into each other,” he wrote on the Ohio Arts Council website. “We may not realize that we are under the spell of poetry, because poetry is made of ordinary language (if language can ever be ordinary). Some words we use to toast a wedding or to bless the dead; others we use to order a pizza.”

That everyday sense was at the forefront of his class called Poetry for People Who Hate Poetry at Case Western Reserve University, and with Brews + Prose, a reading series he co-founded and co-curated with the slogan “literature is better with beer.”

Lucas’ poetry is featured in anthologies “The Bedford Introduction to Literature” and “Best New Poets 2015,” and has appeared in several journals, including The American Poetry Review, Blackbird, The Paris Review, Poetry and Slate.

The Cleveland native received a bachelor of arts degree from John Carroll University, a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Virginia, and master of arts and doctoral degrees in English language and literature from the University of Michigan.

His visit is presented by the Department of English Language and Literature, and the College of Arts and Letters.

For more information, contact Stroud at benjamin.stroud@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2086.