March 31, 2005 Poet Jorie Graham to Read on April 26 at Library's Celebration of National Poetry Month

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham will read from her new book, “Overlord: Poems” (Ecco Press, 2005), at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the Library's Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Hosted by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the program and book signing are cosponsored by the Library's Poetry and Literature Center and the Academy of American Poets, one of the Center for the Book’s national reading promotion partners. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are needed.

Graham's appearance is part of the Academy of American Poets “10 Years/10 Cities Reading Series,” which marks the 10th celebration of National Poetry Month, founded by the academy in 1996. Tree Swenson, the academy’s executive director, will introduce Graham. For information about the 10 poetry programs being held in 10 cities throughout April, visit the academy's Web site:

Widely regarded as one of the leading voices in American poetry today, Graham has published 10 collections of poetry and edited several anthologies. Her volume of selected poems, “The Dream of the Unified Field,” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996.

Born in New York City in 1950, she was raised in Italy and educated in French schools. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne and filmmaking at New York University, before turning to poetry. Her poetry is shaped by a combination of fierce intellect and passion. When she burst on the scene in the early 1980s, reviewers were astonished by the originality and ambition of her work. She speaks without embarrassment about poetry as a moral and spiritual undertaking.

“Each poem,” she wrote in the introduction to “The Best American Poetry 1990,” “is an act of the mind that tries — via precision of seeing, feeling and thinking — to clean the language of its current lies, to make it capable of connecting us to the world.”

After more than 15 years of teaching poetry at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, she was named in 1999 the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University, the first woman to hold the professorship. Her many honors include a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship.

Established in 1977 as a public-private partnership, the Center for the Book uses the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading. For information about its activities and those of its state affiliates and more than 80 national reading promotion partners — including several poetry organizations — visit its Web site:

The Library's Poetry and Literature Center, founded in the 1940s, is the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress. It also sponsors an annual series of public poetry and fiction readings, lectures, symposia, occasional dramatic performances and other literary events. For more information about these and other activities, visit its Web site:

The Academy of American Poets was founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. In addition to National Poetry Month, its programs include the Online Poetry Classroom and the Poetry Audio Archive.


PR 05-083
ISSN 0731-3527