April 6, 2005 B. H. Fairchild, Winner of the Bobbitt Poetry Prize, Will Read on April 27

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Jennifer Rutland (202) 707-5394/5

B. H. Fairchild will receive the 2004 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry and read selections of his work at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

This year’s prize, the eighth to be given, will be awarded to Fairchild for his book “Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest,” published in 2003 by W. W. Norton.

The biennial $10,000 prize recognizes the most distinguished book of poetry written by an American and published during the preceding two years. The prize is donated by the family of the late Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt of Austin, Texas, in her memory, and established at the Library of Congress.

Bobbitt was President Lyndon B. Johnson’s sister. While a graduate student in Washington, D.C., during the 1930s, Rebekah Johnson met college student O.P. Bobbitt when they both worked in the cataloging department of the Library of Congress. They married and returned to Texas.

In addition to its selection for this year’s Bobbitt Prize, “Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest” was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Fairchild’s other books include “Local Knowledge” (1991), “The Arrival of the Future” (2000) and “The Art of the Lathe” (1998), a winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, the California Book Award, the PEN Center West Poetry Award, the Texas Institute of Letters Award and a finalist for the National Book Award.

Fairchild grew up in small towns in Texas, Oklahoma and southwest Kansas. He earned his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Kansas, and his Ph.D. from the University of Tulsa. He is a recipient of Guggenheim, Rockefeller/Bellagio and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. He recently received the Arthur Rense Poetry Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in California.

The winner of the 2004 Bobbitt Prize was chosen by a three-member jury appointed by a selection committee composed of the Librarian of Congress, the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a publisher named by the Academy of American Poets and a literary critic nominated by the Bobbitt family. The jury of this year’s prize was Clarence Brown, R.S. Gwynn and Ed Ochester.


PR 05-093
ISSN 0731-3527