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Waniek, Marilyn Nelson, 1985 October 8

 Item — Multiple Containers

Scope and Contents

Introduced by Dr. Skerrett, Professor Waniek, who is a member of the UConn faculty, provides a brief personal background. Her reads her poems and discusses them with the class.

Poet and children's book author Marilyn Nelson Waniek (now Marilyn Nelson) lectured on 10/8/1985 (2015-0002/RR292). Nelson was an English professor at the University of Connecticut.

Nelson earned degrees from the University of California, Davis (1968), the University of Pennsylvania (1970), and the University of Minnesota (1979). She has taught at Lane Community College, Nr. Nissum Seminarium, St. Olaf College, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Delaware. A prolific writer, she has over thirty-three publications spanning from poetry, books for young adults, and books for children. In 2013, Nelson was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets, was a Poet Laureate of Connecticut from 2001-2006, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, 2012 Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America, two Pushcart Prizes, two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship.


  • 1985 October 8

Conditions Governing Access

Links to digitized content are included in the finding aid.

Biographical / Historical

Marilyn Nelson was born April 26, 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio. She grew up on military bases, and began writing while in elementary school. She earned a B.A. from the University of California-Davis, an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1979. Nelson, poet, translator, and children's book author, is an emeritus professor at the University of Connecticut, and the former poet laureate of Connecticut (2001 to 2006). Her awards include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, and the Frost Medal.

From 1978 to 1994 she published under the name Marilyn Nelson Waniek. She is the author or translator of over twenty books and five chapbooks of poetry for adults and children. While most of her work deals with historical subjects, in 2014 she published a memoir, named one of NPR's Best Books of 2014, entitled How I Discovered Poetry.

Her poetry collections include The Homeplace (Louisiana State University Press), which won the 1992 Anisfield-Wolf Award and was a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award; and The Fields Of Praise: New And Selected Poems (Louisiana State University Press), which won the Poets' Prize in 1999 and was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Award. Her honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, and a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2011, she spent a semester as a Brown Foundation Fellow at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. In 2012, the Poetry Society of America awarded her the Frost Medal. In 2013, Nelson was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Her literary work, spanning more than four decades, examines complex issues around race, feminism, and the ongoing trauma of slavery in American life in narratives poised between song and speech."

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1 Reels (Magnetic tape audio recording) : RR 292 1 reel, 1:22:50; tape speed 3¾ IPS; track position ½-Track Mono; Substrate: Polyester.

Language of Materials

From the Series: English

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
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