The Sandra and Gary Sojka Visiting Poet Series was established in 1995 through the generosity of Gary Sojka, who served as president of Bucknell University from 1985-1995, and his wife, Sandra. The Sojka Visiting Poet Series brings a distinguished poet to Bucknell for a visit each fall. In addition to presenting a reading, the Sojka poet meets in an informal venue with students and other members of the Bucknell community.

Poets are chosen by invitation only; the Stadler Center for Poetry does not accept applications for this position.

2017-18 Sojka Visiting Poet


Carolyn Forché

Carolyn Forché

  • Poetry Reading: Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in Bucknell Hall
  • Q&A: Wednesday, Nov. 8 at noon in Walls Lounge (ELC 213); buffet lunch provided
  • The Blue Hour: A Composers' Collaborative Project, in collaboration with the Weis Center for Performing Arts: Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Weis Center

These events are open to the public.

Renowned as a "poet of witness," Carolyn Forché is the author of four books of poetry. Her first poetry collection, Gathering The Tribes (Yale University Press, 1976), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. In 1977, she traveled to Spain to translate the work of Salvadoran-exiled poet Claribel Alegrí­a, and upon her return, received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which enabled her to travel to El Salvador, where she worked as a human rights advocate. Her second book, The Country Between Us (Harper and Row, 1982), received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was also the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets. Her third book of poetry, The Angel of History (HarperCollins, 1994), was chosen for The Los Angeles Times Book Award. Blue Hour is her fourth collection of poems (HarperCollins, 2003). She is currently at work on a memoir of her years in El Salvador, Lebanon, South Africa, and France.

Forché's anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, was published by W.W. Norton & Co. in 1993. In 2014, her new anthology, The Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English, 1500-2001, was published. Her translation of Claribel Alegria's work, Flowers From The Volcano, was published by the University Pittsburgh Press in 1983. In 2000, Curbstone Press published a new book of her translations of Alegrí­a, entitled Sorrow. In 1983, Writers and Readers Cooperative (New York and London) published El Salvador: Work of Thirty Photographers, for which she wrote the text. In 1991, The Ecco Press published her translations of The Selected Poetry of Robert Desnos (with William Kulik). She co-translated Selected Poetry of Mahmoud Darwish (University of California Press, 2002), from which a chapbook selection had been published by The Lannan Foundation (2001).

In 1998 in Stockholm, she was given the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award, in recognition of her work on behalf of human rights and the preservation of memory and culture. Her articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Esquire, Mother Jones, and others. Forché has held three fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1992 received a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship. In 2013, Forché won the Academy of American Poets Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement. "For her steady gaze into the abyss and for her crafted house of awakened human heavens where she calls us to live," said academy chancellor Juan Felipe Herrera, "we celebrate and recognize Carolyn Forché and her heroic career: gathering word-by-word embers … to face and save lives. Before they are disappeared."

Former Sojka Visiting Poets

2016-17 Jane Hirshfield
2015-16 Cole Swenson
2014-15 Kendel Hippolyte
2013-14 Marilyn Hacker
2012-13 Naomi Shihab Nye
2011-12 Tony Hoagland
2010-11 Carl Phillips
2009-10 Baron Wormser
2008-09 Adam Zagajewski
2007-08 Robin Becker
2006-07 Cornelius Eady
2005-06 Philip Appleman
2004-05 Elizabeth Alexander
2003-04 Stephen Dunn
2002-03 Maxine Kumin
2001-02 Paul Muldoon
2000-01 Robert Pinsky
1999-00 Eavan Boland
1998-99 John Haines
1997-98 Lorna Goodison
1996-97 Donald Justice
1995-96 Ellen Bryant Voigt

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