Jean Valentine, the state poet for the state of New York, read a series of short insightful poems on Friday, Oct. 10, at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre.Â
Speaking softly and offering brief comments before her readings, Valentineâ€™s appearance drew a near-capacity audience of students, faculty and community members for the first event in the 2008-09 Lindsay J. Cropper Center for Creative Writing Series.Â
Valentine has authored 11 books of poetry, including Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, which earned her the National Book Award for poetry in 2004. Her most recent work, Little Boat, was published in 2007. She won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize for her first book, 1965â€™s Dream Barker, and Other Poems. Other honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York State Walt Whitman Citation of Merit for Poets and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Council for the Arts.Â
Valentine returned to USD the next morning for a two-hour workshop with selected creative writing students at the Lindsay J. Cropper Center, in Founders Hall. The workshop is an annual event, an opportunity for young students to be mentored by a professional writer and toÂ unlock the same potential that Lindsay Joanne Cropper found at USD.
Cropper â€™98, was an English major who developed a passion for books and creative writing, contributing occasional book reviews for the San Diego Union-Tribune prior to her death in 2000. Two of her book reviews are framed on a wall in the quaint center that features a wide book selection and a comfortable seating areaÂ for aspiring student writers to gather and work. The center, established in 2004, sponsors the annual series, writing workshops, and, since 2006, has given an award to poetry and fiction writing students.Â
Barrie and Dorothy Cropper, Lindsayâ€™s parents, attend each of the writing series events. They made a generous donation to the English department to be used for the creative writing program and the development of the center to honor their only childâ€™s memory. The center has been a wonderful tribute that remains a valuable source of comfort and inspiration.
â€œIt means everything to us,â€ Barrie Cropper said. â€œWhenever weâ€™re here on campus, we like to sit in the center for 10 to 15 minutes. We both feel her presence in that lovely space.â€Â
For more information about the Cropper Center for Creative Writing or upcoming writing seriesÂ events, go to: www.croppercenter.com/