- Evening, Weekend & Online Programs
- ALUMNI RELATIONS
- GIVING TO LAKELAND
- ABOUT LAKELAND
David Lehman, an accomplished poet and series editor of "The Best American Poetry," will deliver the commencement address at Lakeland College's 146th Commencement on Sunday, May 4.
In addition to serving as series editor of "The Best American Poetry," which he initiated in 1988, he is general editor of the University of Michigan Press's Poets on Poetry Series.
He is the author of several collections of poems, including "When a Woman Loves a Man" (Scribner, 2005), "Jim and Dave Defeat the Masked Man" (with James Cummins, Soft Skull Press, 2005), "The Evening Sun" (2002), "The Daily Mirror: A Journal in Poetry" (2000), "Valentine Place" (1996), "Operation Memory" (1990), and "An Alternative to Speech" (1986).
Karl Elder, Lakeland's Fessler Professor of Creative Writing and the college's poet-in-residence, met Lehman at a reading in Milwaukee several years ago, and the two poets have long admired each other's work. Lehman told The National Poetry Review Press that Elder's "Gilgamesh at the Bellagio" was a "tour de force."
"I'm partial to his scholarship and his prose," Elder said. "I was impressed by his professionalism and upbeat anecdotes between poems at a reading he delivered in Milwaukee, and I said to myself then, this is a guy right for a wider audience than mere poets and professors."
Poet John Hollander is another admirer of Lehman's work.
"This increasingly impressive poet keeps reminding us that putting aside childish things can be done only wisely and well by keeping in touch with them, and that American life is best understood and celebrated by those who are, with Whitman, both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it," Hollander said.
A native of New York City, Lehman graduated from Columbia University and attended Cambridge University in England as a Kellett Fellow. He also received a doctorate in English from Columbia University.
He has edited such books as "Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms: 65 Leading Contemporary Poets Select and Comment on Their Poems" (1987; expanded, 1996), "James Merrill, Essays in Criticism" (with Charles Berger, 1983), and "Beyond Amazement: New Essays on John Ashbery" (1980). Most recently, Lehman edited "The Oxford Book of American Poetry" (Oxford University Press, 2006).
His books of criticism include "The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets" (Doubleday, 1998), which was named a "Book to Remember 1999" by the New York Public Library; "The Big Question" (1995); "The Line Forms Here" (1992); and "Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man" (1991). His study of detective novels, "The Perfect Murder" (1989), was nominated for an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.
Lehman's honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award. He is on the core faculty of the graduate writing programs at the New School and New York University. He lives in New York City.
Lakeland's commencement ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m., is open to the public. Anyone attending the live ceremony must have a ticket, which can be obtained free of charge by contacting Deb Fale at 920-565-1536. A limited number of tickets for the general public are available, and will be given out on a first come, first served basis.
The ceremony will be broadcast live and can be viewed on a projection screen in the Woltzen Gymnasium in the Wehr Center. Tickets are not needed to watch the broadcast, which is also open to the public.