February 18, 2004 2004 Witter Bynner Fellows To Read at the Library of Congress

Two $10,000 Poetry Fellowships Awarded; Symposium and Readings Will Mark the Occassion

Press Contact: Bibi Marti (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Jennifer Rutland (202) 707-4225

The Library of Congress, in conjunction with the Witter Bynner Foundation, has named Dana Levin and Spencer Reece as the 2004 Witter Bynner Fellows in Poetry. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Louise Gluck chose the fellows, who have each been awarded $10,000. Two readings and a symposium, on Feb. 24 and 25, will mark the fellows’ visit to the Library. All events are free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Levin and Reece will read their poems at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the Mumford Room, on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C.

A symposium on the subject of the writing of poetry will take place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 25, in the Montpelier Room, on the sixth floor of the Madison Building. The symposium panel, chosen by Gluck, will include the two Bynner fellows and three young poets, each of whom has published one book: Peg Boyers, Dan Chiasson and Peter Streckfus. Boyers, Chiasson and Streckfus will read their poetry after the symposium, at 6:45 p.m., in the Montpelier Room.

The Bynner Fellowship is given with the intent to support poets’ writing. In return, the fellows are required to organize a local poetry reading and to participate in a reading at the Library of Congress. The local poetry readings for 2004 will take place in Santa Fe, N.M., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The funding source for the 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. Witter Bynner was an influential early-20th century poet and translator of the Chinese classic “Tao Te Ching,” which he named “The Way of Life According to Laotzu.” Bynner worked at McClure’s magazine, where he published A.E. Houseman for the first time in the United States and was an early admirer of O. Henry.

The Witter Bynner Foundation has given the Library a total of $150,000 over five years; $25,000 for two or more poetry fellows each year, to be chosen by the incumbent Poet Laureate to encourage poets and poetry; and $5,000 annually for five years to assist with costs of the Poet Laureateship.

This is the Bynner fellowship’s seventh year. Previous fellows were: Carol Muske and Carl Phillips (1998); David Gewanter, Heather McHugh and Campbell McGrath (1999); and Naomi Shihab Nye and Joshua Weiner (2000) -- all appointed by Robert Pinsky. Tory Dent and Nick Flynn (2001) were appointed by Stanley Kunitz; George Bilgere and Katia Kapovich (2002) and Major Jackson and Rebecca Wee (2003) were appointed by Billy Collins.

For more information about the Library’s Poetry Department, the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry and related events, visit the Web site at www.loc.gov/poetry/.


PR 04-033
ISSN 0731-3527