Contact: Yvonne French, (202) 707-9191

October 14, 1997

Poets Suzanne Qualls and Peter Sacks To Read at the Library of Congress

Poets Suzanne Qualls and Peter Sacks will read their poems at the Library of Congress at 6:45 p.m. October 23 in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. Tickets are not required.

Suzanne Qualls, author of Beauty, and Instinct, to be published this year by Graywolf Press, was born in Stockton, California, where she lived until she began studies at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1969. Her father was a salesman until she was fifteen, when he became a high school teacher. Her mother was a kindergarten and special education teacher. Her inspiration for writing came from a strong Southern tradition of storytelling in her father's family. While a student at the University of California, Ms. Qualls became interested in prison reform, and received a scholarship to study the prison system in Sweden, where she lived in 1971 and 1972. After returning to the United States, she worked for several years as a mid-level manager at the University of California. She began to audit literature and writing courses at the university, including Robert Pinsky's undergraduate poetry workshop, finally resigning from her job to audit courses full-time. She began graduate school in the English department in 1985, and it was there that she met Mark Turpin, whom she married in 1991.

In 1992 she began writing an autobiographical monologue, "House of Wreckers," which she has performed in New York and San Francisco. She has collaborated on translations with the Arabic scholar Susan Sloyomovics, and was an editor and ghostwriter for the late theatrical producer, Arnold Saint Subber. She lives with her family in Albany, California.

Poet Frank Bidart writes of Ms. Qualls's work: "Forthrightness, pungency, passion intensified by a disabused eye--Suzanne Qualls's poems testify to a mystery, and take the reader to the sorrowing, generous edge where the force of world upon world narrowed the distinction between earth and sky.' You have a great pleasure ahead."

Peter Sacks is professor of English at Harvard University. He is the author of two collections of poetry, In These Mountains (1986) and Promised Lands (1990); and two books of criticism; an art historical study, Woody Gwynn: An Approach to the Landscape (1993) and a book entitled The English Elegy: Studies in the Genre from Spenser to Yeats (1985), which won the Christian Gauss Award. A new collection of his poems, Natal Command, will be published by the University of Chicago Press this December.

"Traveling across borders, spiritual, cultural, and emotional," says poet Jorie Graham of Peter Sacks's forthcoming Natal Command, "Sacks writes deeply American poems from his vantage point as an expatriate South African. The poems are informed not only by complex relations of power and race, but also by a larger sense of the conflicted desires regarding the very notion of a homeland. At once personal and historical--responding to the work of mourning with an intensely embodied desire for redress--the poems take up the challenge of cultural repair against collective rage and grief. . . . Sacks's new book gathers unmatched music to far-reaching work of compassion, beauty, and power."

Interpreting services (American Sign Language, Contact Signing, Oral and/or Tactile) will be provided if requested five business days in advance of the event. Call (202) 707-6362 TTY and voice to make a specific request. For other ADA accommodations please contact the Disability Employment Program office at (202) 707-9948 TTY and (202) 707-7544 voice.

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PR 97-168
10/14/97
ISSN 0731-3527

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