Nov. 15 reading to spotlight work by Ohio Arts Council award recipients

November 13, 2018 | Events, UToday, Arts and Letters
By Chase M. Foland

Two UT faculty members will celebrate winning the Ohio Art Council’s 2018 Individual Excellence Award with a reading Thursday, Nov. 15, at 4 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005.

To mark the honor, Dr. Benjamin Stroud, UT associate professor of English, and Dr. Jim Ferris, UT professor and the Ability Center Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, will read some of their work.


Stroud, who specializes in creative writing and 20th-century American fiction, plans to read a piece titled “My Dear Master Liszt” he submitted for the Ohio Arts Council’s Individual Excellence Award.

“It’s focused, in part, on an event that happened just before the Civil War in a town in East Texas, a town a few miles from where I grew up,” Stroud said. “It’s a sort of fictional exploration of history, and an attempt at recovering something that’s been largely forgotten.”

Stroud is the author of the story collection titled “Byzantium,” which won the 2012 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Fiction Prize and was selected as a Best Book of the Summer in 2013 by Publisher’s Weekly and the Chicago Tribune.

His stories have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, One Story, Electric Literature, Boston Review and more.


Ferris, who is the Lucas County poet laureate, will read “Comprehensive List of All Benefits to Being Disabled in Contemporary America” and other recent poems. “Comprehensive List” is among his poems that will be published in March in the anthology “Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice.”

Ferris holds a doctorate in performance studies and believes poems are invitations to performance not only for poets and speakers, but for readers and listeners as well. “Poems come alive when they are taken into the body,” he said. “A reading is a great opportunity to complete the circuit.”

Other poems will come from a new project exploring family history, race, disability, and the construction of cultural identity. Titled “Is Your Mama White? Excavating Hidden History,” Ferris is planning a performance of the work at the University during spring semester.

His books include “Slouching Towards Guantanamo,” “Facts of Life: Poems” and “The Hospital Poems.” Ferris also is the author of “Laborare,” a poem he wrote for the inauguration of the new mayor of Toledo in January 2018.

The free, public reading is sponsored by the UT School of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities.

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