“Elegy’: Reflections on Life after the Virginia Tech Massacre” on Sept. 24

The African/African-American Studies program at Elon University will co-sponsor a visit by poet, novelist, and playwright Fred D’Aguiar, who will perform his tribute on Monday, Sept. 24, to the members of the Hokie nation who lost their lives in the Virginia Tech tragedy. Co-director of the Creative Writing program in the Department of English at Virginia Tech, D’Aguiar taught the shooter Cho Seung-Hui, and sat anxiously in his office as gunfire erupted around him on April 16, 2007.

In addition to publishing numerous novels, poems, and plays, his reading at Elon, “’Elegy’: Reflections on Life after the Virginia Tech Massacre,” is based on his long poem (dialogue mostly), provisionally titled Elegy. Portions have been broadcast on the BBC World Service Radio and R4 in the United Kingdom. Other parts are scheduled to appear in Poetry Review (UK) and other United States publications. The poem began as an elegy for the VT dead, but then branched out into an assessment of guns, murder, the nation and its global ambitions, and D’Aguiar’s life as a writer, a black male, a middle-aged parent, and a Caribbean/British subject.

Born in London in 1960 to Guyanese parents, he lived in Guyana until he was 12, returning to England in 1972. D’Aguiar trained as a psychiatric nurse before reading African and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury, graduating in 1985. D’Aguiar has held teaching appointments at Cambridge University, Amherst College, Bates College, and the University of Miami. His literary accomplishments have been and continue to be celebrated. From the publication of his first collection of poetry in 1985, Mama Dot, to his fourth novel Bethany, Bethany (2003), and his many works in between, D’Aguiar has won numerous awards, firmly solidifying his reputation as one of the finest poets and writers of his generation.

Members of the Elon University community are encouraged to wear the ‘Hokie’ colors to show your support. A question-and-answer session and a book signing will follow the reading/lecture in Whitley Auditorium at 5 p.m. The event is open and free to the public & the Elon University community.

This event is sponsored by: The Office of the President, the Truitt Center, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, the Office of Cultural Programs, Office of the Dean, Elon College, College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost/Associate Provost, Student Life, the Department of English, the Anti-Slavery Coalition, and the African/African-American Studies program.