Press Contact: John Sullivan (202) 707-9216
April 6, 1993
Mona Van Duyn To Deliver Final Lecture as Poet Laureate
Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Mona Van Duyn will give her lecture to close the Library's 1992-93 literary season Friday, May 7. The program will be at 6:30 p.m. in the Mumford Room, Madison Building. Tickets are not required.
Mona Van Duyn, the Library of Congress's sixth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry and the first woman laureate, is the author of the poetry collection, Near Changes (1990), which earned her the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
Born in Iowa, Ms. Van Duyn received her B.S. and M.A. degrees at the University of Northern Iowa and at the University of Iowa, respectively, and has also received several honorary doctoral degrees. From 1947 to 1967, she co-edited and co-published Perspective: A Quarterly of Literature, and from 1950 to 1967 was lecturer in English at University College, Washington University. She has also held distinguished lectureships at the Salzburg (Austria) Seminar in American Studies, the Sewanee Writers Conference, the Breadloaf Writing Conference, and the Hurst Visiting Professorship at Washington University.
Ms. Van Duyn's first book of poems was Valentines to the Wide World (1959). She has subsequently published A Time of Bees (1964), To See, To Take (1970), Bedtime Stories (1972), Merciful Disguises (1973) and Letters from a Father, and Other Poems (1983). Her most recent books, published in 1993, are Firefall: Poems and If It Be Not I: Collected Poems, 1959-1982.
Ms. Van Duyn's other awards and honors include the National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize (with another poet Richard Wilbur), a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant, and the $25,000 Ruth Lilly Award. The Academy of American Poets named her a Fellow in 1980 and one of its 12 Chancellors in 1985. She is a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Last summer in Las Vegas she received the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement.
Ms. Van Duyn has participated in the Library's literary series several times in the past, most recently in April 1990. She succeeds six women who served as Consultants in Poetry before the title "Poet Laureate" was added to the chair in 1985. Her term as Poet Laureate is notable for its reading series; in the 1992- 93 season, she paired talented younger poets and fiction writers with more well-known authors to bring these deserving young voices to the attention of a larger audience.
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