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Professor Christopher Ricks to
lecture on interpreting poetry of Bob Dylan March 17
March 11, 2009 --
Arkansas State University-Jonesboro’s College of
Humanities and Social Sciences will present a lecture by internationally
known scholar, author, and critic Professor Christopher Ricks. Prof.
Ricks will present “Just Like a Man:
Interpreting the poetry of Bob Dylan,” on Tuesday, March 17, at 7 p.m.,
in ASU’s Convocation Center Auditorium (lower level, red doors). The
Convocation Center is at 217 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro. The lecture is
co-sponsored by ASU’s Department of English and Philosophy and the ASU
Lecture-Concert Series. This lecture
by Prof. Ricks is free, and the public is invited to attend.
Professor Ricks is the William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the
Humanities at Boston University, Boston, Mass. and co-director of Boston
University’s Editorial Institute. He has taught at Worcester College,
Oxford, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, and Cambridge
University, where he was King Edward VII Professor of English Literature
before moving to Boston University in 1986. In 2004, he had the singular
honor of being elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford University,
delivering three lectures a year there. Oxford’s Professor of Poetry is
the only Oxford academic to be elected to the post, established in 1708.
Election requires nomination from at least 12 members of Oxford’s
Convocation, the university’s graduate body. Members of Convocation then
vote in person to elect the winning candidate. Previous winners of that
elected office include Matthew Arnold, W. H. Auden, and Seamus Heaney.
Ricks is a renowned critic, known for his essays and his books,
including “The Poems of Tennyson (revised 1987),” “The New Oxford Book
of Victorian Verse (1987),” “Inventions of the March Hare: Poems
1909-1917 by T. S. Eliot (1996), and “The Oxford Book of English Verse
(1999).” He also serves as general poetry editor for Penguin Press.
Most recently, Prof. Ricks has received acclaim for
Vision of Sin (2004),” which
Publishers’ Weekly described as an “affectionate
critical tour-de-force” achieved by close readings of selected Dylan
songs, in which Ricks details Dylan’s preoccupation with sin, virtue,
and grace. Kirkus Reviews has called the book an “ambitious
and intellectually freewheeling work,” examining such familiar songs as
“Positively Fourth Street.” “Lay, Lady, Lay,” and "Like a Rolling
Stone,"as well as less well-known works in the Dylan canon, such as
“Angelina,” “Clothes Line Saga,” "Desolation Row," and "Mississippi."
Dr. Frances Hunter, associate professor of English at ASU, says "I
met Prof. Ricks thirty years ago at Oxford, when he was teaching a
course in T. S. Eliot’s poetry and a no-cost, no-credit course in the
poetry of Bob Dylan. His deep understanding of Dylan’s role in American
poetry and his excellent text have increased my students’ awareness of
Dylan’s greatness as well as my own."
Ricks is a Fellow of the British Academy and was the 2003
recipient of the $1.5 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s
Distinguished Achievement Award, given for significant contributions to
For more information, contact Dr.
Frances Hunter, (870) 972-2173, or e-mail her at
Photos, from top:
students Laura Swan and Abe Friedman discuss T. S. Eliot with Professor
Christopher Ricks. Photo courtesy of Boston University. Prof.
Christopher Ricks is caught in a pensive moment. Photo courtesy of