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Free poetry reading by Pittsburgh native open to public

Alyssa Jackson
  • Joseph Bathanti will give a free poetry reading at 12:05 p.m. Thursday at Penn State York.
  • The poet is a professor at Appalachian State University and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.

Community members are invited to the Penn State York campus for a free poetry reading by Joseph Bathanti at 12:05 p.m. Thursday. Bathanti is a poet, novelist, professor and Pittsburgh native.

Bathanti teaches creative writing and is the director of writing in the field at Appalachian State University. He's also a writer in residence for the Watauga Global Community, according to a news release sent out through Penn State York. The reading of Bathanti's original poetry will take place in the Lee R. Glatfelter Library.

Penn State York, Wednesday, July 13, 2016.  John A. Pavoncello photo

Penn State York professor of English Noel Sloboda is responsible for bringing Bathanti to campus. Sloboda is a poet as well and was inspired by Bathanti after meeting him.

“Joseph is not only an accomplished artist but a master teacher who is very generous with his knowledge and experiences,” Sloboda said. “His work will appeal not only to those who like poetry, but to any philosophers or serious students of the human condition.”

Bathanti has written 10 volumes of poetry, three novels and a short-story collection, much of which draws from his experience working in Southern prisons after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1975. His most recent work is "Concertina Poems," which includes poems about the gas chamber, bounty hunters, bloodhounds, violence, yard basketball games, the prison kitchen and children visiting their mothers in prison.

Bathanti now lives in North Carolina and will receive the state's highest civilian award, the North Carolina Award, in the literature category on Sept. 22. The award will be presented by Gov. Pat McCrory in Raleigh, North Carolina.