The VOICES Reading Series features poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers and is intended to bring accomplished writers to the campus to interact with students and faculty. Invited writers read their works throughout the semester on Thursday evenings at 8:15 P.M at Daugherty-Palmer Commons, and all readings are free and open to the public. Authors read for around 45 minutes and then respond during a brief question and answer period. Each reading is followed by a reception, where students and faculty can mingle with the author and other interested writers and readers. The author’s book(s) are also sold during the reception, and can be signed by the author.
Those authors invited to participate in the VOICES reading program are sometimes involved in the Artist House residency, staying for a period of several weeks on campus and oftentimes making class visits in addition to their reading and writing.
This year, the VOICES Reading Series is co-funded by the English Department, the Environmental Studies Program, the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program, the International Languages and Cultures Department, the Alumni Office, the Twain Lecture Series, and the Arts Alliance of St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Robin Bates has been teaching English at St. Mary’s College since 1981 and has twice been a Fulbright professor in Slovenia. The author of numerous film and literature articles as well as of one book, How Beowulf Can Save America: An Epic Hero’s Guide to Defeating the Politics of Rage, Bates blogs daily at betterlivingthroughbeowulf.com about how immersion in literature is vital to one’s life. For Bates himself, when he was one of the plaintiffs in a civil rights suit brought by white and black families against the Franklin County school system, he drew strength from Huck’s friendship with Jim. As a lonely teenager in a military high school, he felt himself understood by existentialist writers such as Dostoyevsky. At Carleton College, the poetry of D.H. Lawrence inspired him, and Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones was the key work for him after he graduated and entered the job market. In the thirty-plus years since then, he feels privileged to have had students share with him their own literary life stories.