OXFORD, Miss. – After flipping a coin to determine who would speak first, poets Brenda Hillman and Robert Hass encouraged University of Mississippi honors students to keep poetry in their lives while working for social change.
Delivering the keynote address for the recent Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College fall convocation, the husband-and-wife duo even sensed poetry in the event’s setting, the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.
“We are in a place where Barack Obama and John McCain debated, and it is awe-inspiring,” said Hillman, winner of the coin toss.
Hass, who served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1995 to ’97, teaches at the University of California-Berkeley and is a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner. Hillman, whose work has been described as eclectic, mercurial and sensuous, is one of the country’s foremost avant garde poets. Both are internationally renowned, prominent environmental and political activists.Read the story …