Edinboro professor to participate in national JFK roundtable

Edinburgh University faculty member Dr. Robert Bernard Hass, Department of English and Philosophy, is one of nine national speakers invited to present at “A symposium of poetry and power“, A free online screening of the documentary” JFK: The Last Speech “followed by a panel discussion.

Sponsored by Reunion ’64, Inc., the University of Edinboro, the San Diego Public Library and the Robert Frost Society, the virtual panel is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 1.

“JFK: The Last Speech” chronicles President John F. Kennedy’s convening speech to the Amherst College students and teachers on October 26, 1963.

Hailed as one of his greatest speeches, Kennedy used the Frost Library dedication to implore Amherst students to use their educations in service of the public good and to celebrate Robert Frost as the archetype of the artist in a free society.

According to the event’s website, Kennedy hailed Frost as a guardian of democracy, as the one who spoke most clearly about the nation’s “spirit and self-understanding”. Kennedy saw the artist’s dissenting voice as essential to the well-being of the nation.

“When power drives man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limits,” Kennedy said during the speech. “When power narrows man’s areas of concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes fundamental human truths which must serve as a touchstone for our judgment.

Hass, a faculty member in Edinboro since 2001, specializes in creative writing, literature, and poetry and is one of the nation’s leading authorities on Robert Frost’s poetry. Throughout his award-winning academic career, he won an Academy of American Poets award and served on the editorial boards of Twentieth-Century Literature and the Robert Frost Review.

He won an Academy of American Poets Prize, an AWP Intro Journals Award, and a Creative Writing Fellowship at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. As an English professor at the University of Edinburgh, he has published extensively on such figures as Robert Frost, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Wallace Stevens, TS Eliot, Hart Crane and Ezra Pound, and he is currently director executive of the Robert Frost Society.

The virtual event panelists include:

  • Elisa (Lisa) New, director and host of Poetry in America and Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University
  • Jay Parini, poet, novelist, biographer, screenwriter and literary critic and professor of English and Creative Writing DE Axinn at Middlebury College
  • Ruth-Ellen Kocher, author of seven books of poetry, including Third Voice (Tupelo Press, 2016); domina Un / blued (Tupelo Press, 2013), winner of the PEN Open Book Award and the Dorset Prize
  • Neil Bicknell, executive producer of “JFK: The last speech»And co-editor of the accompanying book of the same name
  • Robert A. Knox, Research Oceanographer and Associate Director (Emeritus) at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Robert Benedetti, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of the Pacific. He graduated from Amherst College in 1964 with majors in English and Political Science.
  • Seth Lerer, Emeritus Professor of Literature at the University of California, San Diego, where he was Dean of Arts and Humanities from 2009 to 2014.
  • Karla Cordero is a descendant of the Chichimeca people of northern Mexico, a chicana poet, educator and ARTtivist, and three times Pushcart nominee.

About Norma Wade

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