University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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Oct. 1, 2004


UW-River Falls English Professor Attends International Summer School

UW-River Falls English Professor Ken Olson attended the 17th John Hewitt International Summer School held at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh, Northern Ireland.

Held from July 26-31, the theme of the program, "Crazily Tangled: Myth, Media, History and Confusion," examined how history and legend paradoxically enrich life and society in Ireland while thwarting potential for progress. "Crazily tangled" is a phrase Hewitt used to describe Ireland's artistic and mythological legacy.

The keynote speaker was Clare Short, who resigned from UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet over the invasion of Iraq. Other activities included the performance of the play by Conal Morrison, "Hard to Believe," and poetry shared by a number of outstanding Irish poets.

Olson attended a two-day poetry workshop conducted by Anne-Marie Fyfe, a poet from Northern Ireland presently living in England, who recently was awarded an important poetry prize along with 10,000 pounds. Additionally, Olson also spent three days researching "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland.

Olson received a Knowles Grant as well as funding from the College of Arts and Sciences and the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs office to travel and study in Ireland.

"This was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about the culture, history, politics, and literature of Northern Ireland, to spend time with friends in Northern Ireland and the chance to make some new friends," said Olson. "One of our new friends is acquainted with Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire." Olson said they will work on a new program to offer UW-RF students who will travel to Ireland for Olson’s course during the winter break.

In addition, Olson plans to apply what he learned this past summer at the program in his Honors Irish Studies class.

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