Mercer Cluster

Frank X. Gaspar comes to Mercer as Ferrol A. Sams Distinguished Writer

Frank X. Gaspar is coming to Mercer on Mar. 22 to present his latest work,

Courtesy of Gordon Johnston

Frank X. Gaspar is coming to Mercer on Mar. 22 to present his latest work, "A Double Life: The Poet/ Novelist."

Summer Perritt, Staff Writer

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Distinguished poet and novelist Frank X. Gaspar is coming to Mercer University on Mar. 22 to discuss the challenges of being a writer.

The presentation is entitled “A Double Life: The Poet/Novelist” and includes a talk concerning the challenges of writing in different genres.

The event is open to the public and will be held in the Medical School Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.

Frank X. Gaspar was recently named the Mercer University Ferrol A. Sams Distinguished Writer in Residence and will teach a 400-level writing course at Mercer in the fall.

“The effort to bring Frank Gaspar to campus to teach our creative writing majors and minors in the advanced poetry writing course started three years ago when Dot Dannenberg, a Mercer graduate, won a national award for an essay she wrote, ‘The Sacred Word on the Street,’ about Frank’s poems,” said Gordon Johnston, a creative writing professor at Mercer.

Since then, Johnston has been in contact with Gaspar and invited him to serve as a distinguished writer and resident professor at Mercer.

Gaspar has written five collections of poems and two novels. His works focus on his ethnically diverse background and are centered around the balance between American life and global traditions.

“The mundane and the ecstatic don’t just meet in the poems; they often become indistinguishable from one another,” said one university press release.

Gaspar hails from Provincetown, Massachusetts while his family emigrated from the Azorean Archipelago region of Portugal. Growing up with these cultural influences, Gaspar has drawn from his childhood experiences to inspire his works.

“The poems are ecstatic and mysterious. They speak from the collective human experience and the personal human experience at the same time. They do this without ever speaking down to the reader,” Johnston said.

Gaspar holds several awards for his acclaimed writings, including four pushcart prizes, a national endowment fellowship and submissions in the “Best American Poetry” collection. He is currently a member of the faculty at the Pacific University Master of Fine Arts program in Oregon.

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Frank X. Gaspar comes to Mercer as Ferrol A. Sams Distinguished Writer