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Quebecois-ODU Poetry Festival scheduled for Sept. 23 and 24

Since leading a study-abroad program in Quebec several years ago, Old Dominion University Professor of World Languages and Cultures Peter Schulman has forged deep ties with that Canadian province.

For the fourth consecutive year, the University will host its Quebecois-ODU Poetry Festival on Sept. 23 and 24, featuring poets from Canada. The festival has grown, and this year will feature an interdisciplinary event with a resilience focus, as well as a reading and goodwill exchange with poets from both countries.

"The festival aims to show how poets, too, can have a positive impact within ecological issues that affect us all," Schulman said. "Any time ODU can serve as a gateway for the international exchange of ideas and cultures it is a big win for us."

A true Canadaphile, Schulman has forged personal connections with the three visiting poets, J.R. Leveille, Gabriel Robichaud and Virginia Pesemapeo-Bordeleau. They each hail from a different part of Canada and will do readings in English and French.

The festival has grown so much in stature that a visitor from the Quebec Government Office in Washington will attend to learn about the many links forged between Old Dominion and the Province of Quebec.

"I think what makes our little festival unique is its interdisciplinary scope as it reaches out to as many communities as possible in two days not just French majors," Schulman said.

On Sept. 23, the three Quebecois poets will deliver a reading in the Burgess Room of the Batten Arts and Letters building (BAL 9024). The reading will be in French and English and is open to the public.

On Sept. 24, the poets will participate in the interdisciplinary roundtable "Nature's Cataclysms: Recurrent Flooding Across Boundaries" at the ODU Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, Lecture Hall 244. The 12:30-2 p.m. event will feature Emily Steinhilber, ODU's assistant director for Coastal Resilience Research, and Hannah Torres, assistant professor of political science, geography and resilience. Two local classes (from Catholic High School and Tallwood High School's Global Studies Academy) will take a field trip to the event, attracted by both the French and scientific aspects of the roundtable discussion.

From 6-7 p.m. that day, Leveille, Robichaud and Pesemapeo-Bordeleau will join American poets Renee Olander, Noah Renn, Catherine Fletcher, Thomas Yuill and Kindra Macdonald in a goodwill exchange event at Cure Coffeehouse in downtown Norfolk.

All events of the Quebecois-ODU Poetry Festival are free and open to the public. For more information about the festival, contact Peter Schulman at pschulma@odu.edu or 757-683-3323.

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