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Writers inspired by Louis Armstrong to Read April 30
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Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

(718) 997-559

Maria Matteo
News Assistant
(718) 997-5593


-- Queens College MFA Candidates To Read New Works
Inspired by Collections of the Louis Armstrong House Museum --

WHAT: Three students from Queens College’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation will read from works they created through a new, innovative partnership between the school and the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Michael Alpiner, John Reid Currie and Tyler Rivenbark spent three months as writers-in- residence at the museum, which the college administers. They immersed themselves in Armstrong’s world-renowned treasure trove of recordings, films, letters, photographs and collages; in response, the students explored Armstrong’s life and music in the sociopolitical context of his era—and ours.
In addition, writer and designer Steven Brower will read from and sign copies of his new book, Satchmo: The Wonderful World and Art of Louis Armstrong (Harry Abrams).
A Q&A session and reception follow. The event is free and open to the public.
WHEN: Thursday, April 30, 2009, from 6:30 to 8 pm
WHERE: Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Klapper Hall, Queens College
For directions, visit

Background: “It’s important to this program for our students to develop and hone their craft while they explore ways to incorporate external material into their writing,” says Aracelis Girmay, this year’s visiting professor in the MFA Program. “The work generated by this residency over the last few months is positive proof of the remarkable material that can be borne out of artistic intersections.” Girmay is also a Cave Canem Fellow. Cave Canem is a literary society that was founded in 1996 to help discover and cultivate new voices in African American poetry.

Students applied for the writers-in-residence positions by submitting letters of interest, work samples and artist statements. Girmay notes that the three winners were chosen for their “commitment to their writing and a clearly expressed articulation on how the interaction with Armstrong’s work and archives would potentially strengthen their own craft.”

Queens College offers the only MFA in Creative Writing program in the borough, giving a diverse student body the opportunity to work closely with award-winning faculty members who are also committed teachers. Faculty include novelist John Weir, winner of the Lambda Literary Award; poet and translator Roger Sedarat, winner of the Hollis Summers Prize in poetry; playwright Richard Schotter, Obie Award nominee and Berman Playwriting Prize winner; poet Kimiko Hahn, winner of the American Book Award in poetry; MFA Director Nicole Cooley, winner of the Walt Whitman Award in poetry; and poet and novelist Jeff Allen, winner of the Heartland Prize for Fiction. For more information, visit


 Office Information

Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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