Press contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public contact: Poetry and Literature Center (202) 707-5394
Website: www.loc.gov/poetry

October 5, 2001

Poet Laureate Billy Collins to Read at the Library of Congress

Tentatively Rescheduled for Thursday, December 6

Billy Collins, the Library's newly named Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2001-2002, will open this year's evening literary series with a reading from his work. The event, originally schedued for Thursday, October 25 at 6:45 p.m., has been tentatively rescheduled for Thursday, December 6, at the same time. The program will take place in the Montpelier Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building; tickets are not required. (See fall schedule of literary programs below.)

Billy Collins's books of poetry include a volume of new and selected poems, Sailing Alone Around the Room, which was published by Random House in September; Picnic, Lightning (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998); The Art of Drowning (1995), which was a Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize finalist; Questions About Angels (1991), a National Poetry Series selection by Edward Hirsch; The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988); Video Poems (1980); and Pokerface (1977).

His honors include fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, and the Levinson Prize, all awarded by Poetry magazine. He is Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for the past 30 years. He is also a writer-in-residence at Sarah Lawrence University, and he has served as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library. He lives in Somers, New York.

Additional programs in the fall 2001 literary series at the Library of Congress include readings by Kay Ryan and Samuel Menashe; John Ashbery and Tony Towle; five finalists for the first Phi Beta Kappa Poetry Award, presented by the Phi Beta Kappa Society; and Edward Hirsch and David Kirby. An additional reading is being planned for December 6. Information about each program will be available at (202) 707-5394, and on the Poetry Center's Web site.

The poetry and literature reading series at the Library of Congress is the oldest in the Washington area, and among the oldest in the United States. This annual series of public poetry and fiction readings, lectures, symposia, and occasional dramatic performances began in the 1940s and has been almost exclusively supported since 1951 by a gift from the late Gertrude Clarke Whittall, who wanted to bring the appreciation of good literature to a larger audience. The Poetry and Literature Center administers the series and is the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1936, when the late Archer M. Huntington endowed the Chair of Poetry at the Library of Congress. Since then, many of the nation's most eminent poets have served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and, after the passage of Public Law 99-194 (December 20, 1985), as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. The Poet Laureate suggests authors to read in the literary series, plans other special literary events during the reading season, and usually introduces the programs.

Library of Congress Literary Series -- Fall 2001

October 25, 2001
Billy Collins, Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2001/02, whose new collection, Sailing Alone Around the Room, has just been published, reading his poems to open the literary season. Mumford Room, 6:45 p.m.

November 1, 2001
Kay Ryan and Samuel Menashe reading from their poems. Mumford Room, 6:45 p.m.

November 8, 2001
John Ashbery and Tony Towle reading from their poems. Mumford Room, 6:45 p.m.

November 15, 2001
Phi Beta Kappa Poetry Award Program; readings by the five finalists for the first Phi Beta Kappa Poetry Award. Montpelier Room, 6:45 p.m.

November 29, 2001
Edward Hirsch and David Kirby reading their poems. Mumford Room, 6:45 p.m.

December 6, 2001
A reading to be announced.

Tickets are not required for any of these events. Interpreting services (American Sign Language, Contact Signing, Oral and 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 01-148
10/05/01
ISSN 0731-3527

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