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MorganFest: A Robert Morgan Celebration

Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 8:30am to 6:30pm

Daytime Panels: Silver Birch Suite, Statler Hall (5th Floor Tower Suite) / Reading: Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, G70 Klarman Hall / Reception: English Lounge, 258 Goldwin Smith Hall

The Department of English is planning a major celebration to honor Robert Morgan. The event will include panels, a conversation, a reading, and other tributes to one of Cornell’s most beloved professors. An award-winning poet, fiction writer, novelist, historian and biographer and scholar, Morgan remains an inspiring teacher and beloved colleague. Please join us in celebrating his remarkable achievements and profound influence in American Letters.

Free and open to the public

*Silver Birch Suite, Statler Hall (5th Floor Tower Suite) - see directions below schedule

8:30 a.m. - Coffee and Bagels

9:00 a.m. - Welcome Remarks
Derk Pereboom, Senior Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities
Caroline Levine, Picket Family Chair of the English Department 

9:30 a.m. - On Morgan’s Poetry
Panel featuring:
Bhisham Bherwani (Independent scholar & writer)
Jesse Graves (East Tennessee State University)
John Lang (Emory & Henry College (emeritus))
Robert West (Mississippi State University)
Moderated by Roger Gilbert (Cornell University)

11:00 a.m. - Break

11:30 a.m. - On Morgan’s Prose
Panel featuring:
Nicole Drewitz-Crockett (Emory & Henry College)
Martha Greene Eads (Eastern Mennonite University)
Rebecca Godwin (Barton College)
Randall Wilhelm (Anderson University)
Moderated by Paul Sawyer (Cornell University)

1:00 p.m. - Lunch

2:00 p.m. - A Conversation with Robert Morgan
Alice Fulton (Cornell University)
Randall Kenan (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Kenneth A. McClane (Cornell University (emeritus))
Moderated by Stuart Davis (Cornell University)

4:30 p.m. - MorganFest Reading
Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, G70 Klarman Hall

The Fall 2019 Barbara & David Zalaznick Creative Writing Reading Series continues with this celebration in honor of poet, novelist, and professor Robert Morgan. Morgan and three of his former students will read from their own works:

Robert Morgan, Poet & Novelist
Robert Morgan was born on October 3, 1944 in Hendersonville, North Carolina, near the Blue Ridge Mountains. His early studies included music, science, and engineering, but writing proved to be his truest passion. His first published books were collections of poems, earthy in style and grounded in the rhythms of work. Though he continues to write poetry, Morgan has devoted much of his creative energy to short stories and novels that draw on the rich history of Appalachia, including the bestseller Gap Creek (1999) and Chasing the North Star (2016). Most recently Morgan has turned to biography, on subjects ranging from Daniel Boone to Edgar Allan Poe. Since 1971 he has taught at Cornell University, where he is now the Kappa Alpha Professor of English and much loved as a writer, poet, colleague, and mentor. 

Elizabeth Holmes MFA '87, Poet
Elizabeth Holmes is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Passing Worlds: Tahiti in the Era of Captain Cook (LSU Press, 2018). She lives in Ithaca, New York, and works as a writer at Cornell University.

Lynn Powell MFA '80, Poet & Nonfiction Writer
Lynn Powell has published three books of poetry, including Season of the Second Thought, and a nonfiction book, Framing Innocence. Her honors include an NEA Fellowship, the Brittingham and the Felix Pollak Prizes in poetry, and the Studs & Ida Terkel Award for nonfiction. She teaches at Oberlin College.

Robert Schultz MFA '76, MA '78, PhD '81, Author & Artist
Robert Schultz’s work includes three poetry collections, a novel, a nonfiction work, and an art book. He has received an NEA Award, The Virginia Quarterly Review’s Balch Prize, and Cornell’s Corson Bishop Poetry Prize. Schultz’s artwork is held by the U.S. Library of Congress, the University of Virginia, and private collectors.  

American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be provided for this reading.

6:15 p.m. - Reception and Book Signing
English Lounge, 258 Goldwin Smith Hall
Purchase books by the MorganFest Reading authors from the Campus Store before the reading to have them signed. Look for the MorganFest display.

September 19 - November 15, 2019 - “Robert Morgan at 75:  A Celebration”
*Olin Library (Near the “New and Noteworthy” shelves)
*Kroch Library Rare & Manuscript Collection (Reference room, near the Gettysburg Address facsimile)
The exhibits feature never-before-seen manuscripts & personal items.

This event is presented by the Department of English / Creative Writing Program at Cornell University and co-sponsored by the Zalaznick Reading Series, Society for the Humanities, American Studies Program, College of Arts & Sciences, Helena María Viramontes, & Caroline Elizabeth Levine.

Next in the Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series:
Reading by Desiree Cooper on October 24, 2019

Directions to Silver Birch Suite (5th Floor Tower Suite)

There is only one elevator in Statler Hall that can take you to the 5th floor Tower Suite, and the only room on that floor is the Silver Birch. Statler Hotel and Statler Hall staff refer to the Silver Birch Suite (donor name) as the 5th Floor Tower Suite.

- From Statler Hotel lobby, when facing the stairs that lead from the lobby to Taverna Banfi, follow signage for MorganFest Silver Birch Suite (5th Floor Tower Suite) to the left down the hallway and continue to follow the free-standing signage through the Hotel towards Statler Hall. Pass through the doors into Statler Hall, which will bring you out towards the Statler Auditorium, and follow the hallway in front of you, and to the right of the Auditorium, towards the back wall that says “SHA Tower”. Take the elevator on the right near the end of the hallway to the fifth floor, exit to the left, and enter the Silver Birch Suite (room sign says “Multipurpose Room 589”).

- From East Avenue, enter Statler Hall, follow the staircase up and, when facing the Statler Auditorium, take the hallway to the right of the Auditorium, towards the back wall that says “SHA Tower”. Take the elevator on the right near the end of the hallway to the fifth floor, exit to the left, and enter the Silver Birch Suite (room sign says “Multipurpose Room 589”).

- From Statler Drive, enter Statler Hall, following the hallway to the Statler Auditorium. When facing the Statler Auditorium, take the hallway to the right of the Auditorium, towards the back wall that says “SHA Tower”. Take the elevator on the right near the end of the hallway to the fifth floor, exit to the left, and enter the Silver Birch Suite (room sign says “Multipurpose Room 589”).

For campus parking information please visit

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Event Type

Panel Discussion, Reading, Special Event, Author Appearance


Art, English, History, Department of Performing and Media Arts, Comparative Literature, Alumni, American Studies Program, The Society for the Humanities, College of Arts & Sciences


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#Morgan, Cornell, English, Celebration, Reading, Book Signing, Zalaznick, Free

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Lynn Lauper

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Disability Access Information

The venue is wheelchair accessible. If you need additional accommodations to participate in this event, please contact us as soon as possible.

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