U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón will deliver the 2023 Dancy Lecture at the University of Montevallo’s Center for the Arts on Oct. 4 at 6 p.m., followed by a Q&A session and book signing. The 24th poet laureate of the United States and the first Latina poet laureate, Limón’s term was recently renewed by the Library of Congress.
Limón is the author of six poetry books. Her first collection of poetry, “Lucky Wreck,” was the winner of the 2005 Autumn House Poetry Prize. She also wrote “The Hurting Kind,” “The Carrying,” which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, “Bright Dead Things,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award, “Sharks in the Rivers” and “This Big Fake World,” winner of the 2005 Pearl Poetry Prize. A 2001–2002 fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and a Guggenheim Fellow, Limón has also received a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and won the Chicago Literary Award for Poetry.
Limón’s signature project as poet laureate is called “You Are Here” and focuses on how poetry can help connect us to the natural world. Her work has been supported most recently by a Guggenheim Fellowship. She currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where she writes and teaches remotely.
The Dancy Lecture Series was established in 1939 with a bequest of $12,500 from the will of Unity Dandridge Dancy, in honor of her mother and sister, for the purpose of “endowing the departments of English, Literature and Expression” at what was then Alabama College. The Dancy Lecture Foundation was created by Alabama College President Arthur F. Harman to fulfill that purpose through a series of lectures every two years by a distinguished speaker from the fields of literature and theatre arts.
The inaugural lecture was given on April 27 and 28, 1939, by Dr. Douglas Southall Freeman, a notable research scholar and biographer. Other noteworthy past speakers include Dumas Malone, Maynard Mack, Joseph Campbell, Martin Esslin, Helen Vendler, O.B. Hardison, Horton Foote, Stephen Greenblatt, Houston Baker, Elaine Pagels, Brenda Marie Osbey, Qui Nguyen and Natasha Trethewey.
The Dancy Lecture Committee currently consists of Dr. Lee Rozelle, professor of English and committee chair, Dr. Valerie Johnson, assistant professor of English and University Archivist Carey Heatherly.