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The Regulator Bookshop, in a bold stroke of irony, will be hosting the former virgin of Bennington (College) at the Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham this week. Kathleen Norris' new book, The Virgin of Bennington (pictured), describes her cultural awakening after leaving a sheltered life in Hawaii and plunging headlong into the bohemian culture of Bennington College in the 1960s. At Bennington, the naive Norris was forced to confront the college's culture of drugs and sex, at the same time that she discovered a love of poetry that eventually carried her to New York City during the rise of the beat poets. In New York, she worked by day for Elizabeth Kray, who ran the Academy of American Poets; by night, Norris hung out at Max's Kansas City, hobnobbing with Andy Warhol's crowd, and befriending the likes of Jim Carroll, Denise Levertov, James Merrill, James Wright and Erica Jong. Norris will be reading at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, April 29 at 4 p.m., and at Blacknall Presbyterian Church on Monday, April 30, at 7 p.m. Call 828-1588 or 286-2700 for details.

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