March 29, 2001 2001 Witter Bynner Fellows Tory Dent and Nick Flynn to Read at the Library of Congress
Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: Jennifer Rutland (202) 707-5395
Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Stanley Kunitz has granted $12,500 poetry fellowships to poets Tory Dent and Nick Flynn. The awards are from the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress.
The 2001 Witter Bynner Fellows will read at the Library of Congress on Thursday, April 5, in the Montpelier Room, on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., at 6:45 p.m. Mr. Kunitz will introduce them. Tickets are not required.
The fellowships are to be used to support the writing of poetry. Only two things are asked of the fellows: that they organize a local poetry reading (this year, in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts, respectively) and that they participate in a poetry reading at the Library of Congress.
Tory Dent is the author of HIV, Mon Amour (1999), which won the 1999 James Laughlin Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and What Silence Equals (1993). Her honors include grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund; the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award; and three PEN American Center Grants for Writers with AIDS. She is also at work on a memoir, and has written essays and art criticism.
Nick Flynn is a member of Columbia University's Writing Project, where he serves as an educator and consultant in New York City public schools. He has won the 1999 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and a 1999 "Discovery"/The Nation Award, and has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and from the MacDowell and Millay Colonies. He is the author of Some Ether.
The funding source for these fellowships, the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, was incorporated in 1972 in New Mexico to provide grant support for programs in poetry through nonprofit organizations. Mr. Bynner was an influential early-20th century poet and translator of the Chinese classic the Tao Te Ching, which he named The Way of Life According to Laotzu. He traveled with D. H. and Frieda Lawrence and proposed to Edna St. Vincent Millay (she accepted, but then they changed their minds). He worked at McClure's magazine, where he published A.E. Houseman for the first time in the United States and was one of O. Henry's early fans.
The Witter Bynner Foundation is giving the Library a total of $150,000 over five years; $25,000 for two or more poets each year to be chosen by the Poet Laureate in conjunction with the Library to encourage poets and poetry, and $5,000 annually for five years to assist with costs of the Poet Laureateship.
This is the Fellowship's fourth year. Previous fellows, appointed by Robert Pinsky, were: Carol Muske and Carl Phillips (1998); David Gewanter, Heather McHugh, and Campbell McGrath (1999); and Naomi Shihab Nye and Joshua Weiner (2000).