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ITHACA, N.Y. — The Cornell chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is excited to announce this semester’s Distinguished Faculty Invitational Lecture with Professor Kenneth McClane. The talk will take place on Wednesday October 28th, 4:30pm, in Lewis Auditorium of Goldwin Smith Hall, on Cornell’s campus.
His talk, titled “Friendship: a narrative about race, family, war, and fishing” centers around his friend Bill Preston, who has taught him about humility and the deep and abiding nature of true friendship.
The W.E.B DuBois Professor of Literature Emeritus and a Stephan H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University, Professor McClane is also the author of seven poetry collections, including Take Five: Collected Poems. He has also published two volumes of personal essays, Walls: Essays 1985-1990 and Color: Essays on Race, Family, and History. His essay “Walls” was selected for The Best American Essays 1988 and The Best American Essays (college edition) volumes.
McClane is the W.E.B. DuBois Professor of Literature at Cornell Emeritus, where he taught English and creative writing for 37 years. In March 2004, he was named a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Cornell’s highest teaching honor. The author of seven poetry collections, he has published two volumes of personal essays, Walls: Essays 1985-1990 and Color: Essays on Race, Family, and History, which was awarded the 2009 Gold Medal for the best book of essays by ForeWord Reviews Magazine. In 2010 the University of Notre Dame Press reprinted his collection, Walls: Essays 1985-1990 in paperback.
McClane’s poetry and essays have appeared in many anthologies, including The Best African American Essays; The Art of the Essay; The Story and its Writer; Literature for Life; Bearing Witness: Selections from African-American Autobiography in the Twentieth Century; The Anatomy of Memory; Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Woman in Literature; The Jazz Poetry Anthology; Cavalcade; You’ve Got to Read This; and Trouble the Water: 250 Year of African-American Poetry. His essay “Walls” was selected for The Best American Essays 1988 and The Best American Essays (college edition) volumes. In 2002 he received the Distinguished Prose Award from the Antioch Review.
McClane has been a visiting professor at Colby College, Williams College (where he was a Luce Visiting Professor), Washington University (St. Louis), and a Dr. Martin Luther King Distinguished Professor at the University of Michigan and, two years later, at Wayne State University. In 1977 he was director of the Writing Center at the City College, the City University of New York. In 1990-1996 he directed Cornell’s Creative Writing Program.
Presently, Mr. McClane serves on the Board of Trustees of the Tompkins County Public Library and the Collegiate School in New York City. He formerly served on the Board of Adelphi University, the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for he Arts, and the Community Foundation of Tompkins Country.
McClane was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Cornell in 1973, when he graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences.
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