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Poet’s work comes from international influence

When award-winning poet Aaron Baker moved to Papua New Guinea at the age of six, he learned what it was like to be different.

“We lived with a tribe of people who made first contact with outsiders in 1933,” he said of the six years spent in the country.

It was those differences that inspired Baker’s debut collection, “Mission Work,” which he read for students Wednesday night in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom as part of the University Lecture Series’ (ULS) National Poetry Month.

The collection, which won the 2008 Katherine Bakeless Fellowship award and the 2009 Shenandoah/Glasgow Prize, is comprised of poems about Baker’s experiences growing up as the son of missionaries and his view on stories told by tribe members.

The reading was funded by donations to the Humanities Institute, which co-sponsored the event with the Department of English.

ULS will also host feature poets Katie Ford on Wednesday and Robert Pinsky on April 28 as part of National Poetry Month.