The Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature works to develop interpersonal and intercultural understanding and communication through public humanities programming related to film and literary arts. Each year we bring a distinguished poet to the campus as one of our major initiatives. Six of the poets have been Poet Laureates of the United States and many of them have been Pulitzer Prize and/or National Book Award winners. Poets Robert Pinsky, Jane Hirshfield, Michael Ondaatje, Mark Doty, Lucille Clifton, Naomi Shihab Nye, Li-Young Lee, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Joy Harjo, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Charles Simic, Natasha Trethewey, Carolyn Forche, Claudia Emerson, Terrance Hayes, Tracy K. Smith, Richard Blanco, Marie Howe, and Simon Armitage have been featured so far. Acclaimed poet Yusef Koumyakaa will be featured at OCU on April 4, 2018.
In addition, the Center supports the OCU Film Institute, develops for the university and community an archive collection of quality DVDs, supports the Smokewood Institute for Young Writers, facilitates field trips to OCU for area teachers and students from upper elementary through high school, hosts a regular Oklahoma Humanities Let’s Talk About It book discussion series for the university and Oklahoma City community, and collaborates with other campus and metropolitan organizations to support and encourage different groups to work together on creative projects. The director, Dr. Tracy Floreani, is a member of the English Department and teaches courses in this department as well as other university courses related to the mission of the Center. The Thatcher Hoffman Smith Endowment Fund and an advisory committee support the development of the Center and its programs.
The Film Institute
The OCU Film Institute offers the university and the greater Oklahoma City community the opportunity to view classic and contemporary international films. Its 36th year begins in September 2017. All films begin at 2 pm, in the Kerr McGee Auditorium in the Meinders School of Business, located at NW 27th and McKinley avenues.
Since 1983, the Institute has been screening eight to ten films per year on designated Sunday afternoons to an audience of 150 to 400 people. Each year the series focuses on a theme, and reading recommendations on the theme and individual films are available at the showings. A discussion session follows each screening. The films are housed in the university’s collection at the Dulaney-Browne library and are also available for university courses.
In 1996, the Oklahoma Humanities Council awarded the Institute one of four awards for excellence in humanities programming over the past twenty-five years in the state of Oklahoma. The film series is supported by OCU’s Petree College of Arts & Sciences, the OCU Film Institute Endowment, the Designated Endowment in the Community Foundation of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, and the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Endowment for the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature.