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Westfield State Kicks Off Fall Guest Lecture Series

WESTFIELD- The Westfield State University Guest Lecture Series kicks off its fall season with two events, “An Evening of Poetry” with Keith Leonard ’08 and “Why I Go to the Olympics” with Dr. Amy Bass. The poetry reading will be held on Wednesday, September 28 from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Loughman Living Room in Scanlon Hall and the lecture by Dr. Amy Bass will be held on Wednesday, October 5 at 7 p.m. in Parenzo Hall on Dever Stage.

Keith Leonard

Westfield State Class of 2008 alumnus Keith Leonard will read and discuss his first full-length collection of poems, “Ramshackle Ode.” Leonard’s poetry collection contains lyric poems and works of serious reflection that explore how both joy and sadness co-exist together.

Keith Leonard graduated from Westfield State with Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in secondary education, and then went on to obtain a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Indiana University. Leonard currently teaches English at an independent high school in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to “Ramshackle Ode,” Leonard published a chapbook called “Still, the Shore” in 2013. Leonard’s poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Copper Nickel, and Gulf Coast.

“He possessed a great deal of talent at a rather young age, but he was also dedicated to the craft of poetry. He read new poetry all the time, wrote routinely, and was not afraid of revision,” said Associate Professor of English Leah Nielsen, who organized the event and worked with Leonard when he was a student at Westfield State.

“I am hoping this event will demonstrate to our students that if they make a commitment to writing, they can have success,” Nielsen said. “I want them to be able to see the type of success they are capable of.”

The lecture is free and open to the public. There will be a meet and greet with Leonard from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Loughman Living Room on the same day. For more information, contact Professor Nielsen at lnielsen@westfield.ma.edu.

Dr. Amy Bass

Dr. Amy Bass will discuss her contributions to nine of the Olympic Games over the past two decades. Bass will also share her experiences and reflections on the games.

Dr. Bass is a professor of History and works as director of the SAS Honors Program at The College of New Rochelle. Dr. Bass is also a writer, a senior political analyst, and a freelance sports writer. She has served as a senior research supervisor for NBC Olympic Sports since 1996 and won an Emmy for her work on the London Olympics in 2012. Dr. Bass published three books: “Not the Triumph but the Struggle: The 1968 Olympic Games and the Making of the Black Athlete,” “In the Game: Race, Identity, and Sports in the Twentieth Century,” and “Those About Him Remained Silent: the Battle over W.E.B. Du Bois.”

The event was organized by Assistant Professor of History Dr. Erica Morin, who studied under Dr. Bass when she attended The State University of New York College at Plattsburgh.

“Her expertise in Olympic history and her ability to connect sports to complex social, cultural, and political meanings is unmatched,” said Dr. Morin.

“With the Rio Olympics very fresh in people's minds, Dr. Bass will be able to speak to controversies from the Olympics and their coverage, as well as recent acts of protest in professional sports in the United States,” added Dr. Morin.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Morin at emorin@westfield.ma.edu.

For more information on upcoming speakers in the Guest Lecture Series, visit www.westfield.ma.edu/guest-lecture-series.