March 6, 2006 Distinguished Poets Reed Whittemore and Linda Pastan To Read on March 23

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

Distinguished poets Reed Whittemore and Linda Pastan will read their poems at the Library of Congress at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington D.C. Both Whittemore and Pastan are former poets laureate of Maryland, and Whittemore is a former U.S. Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress.

U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser will introduce Whittemore and Pastan. The program, presented under the auspices of the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund, is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required.

Whittemore served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1964 to 1965 and again from 1984 to 1985 when he stepped in for the ailing Robert Fitzgerald. He also served as poet laureate of Maryland from 1986 to 1991. A former literary editor of The New Republic and a biographer of William Carlos Williams, Whittemore is the author of 10 collections of poetry, including “The Past, the Future, the Present: Poems Selected and New” (1990).

Born in New Haven, Conn., Whittemore received his bachelor’s degree in 1941 from Yale University. His first poetry collection, “Heroes and Heroines,” was published in 1945, upon his return from military service in World War II. From 1947 to 1966, he was professor of English at Carleton College. In 1984, he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland at College Park. A memoir will be published in the near future.

Pastan served as the poet laureate of Maryland from 1991 to 1995. She is the author of 11 collections of poetry, including “Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968-1998,” which made her a finalist for the 1998 National Book Award. Her other recent books include

“Imperfect Paradise” (1991) and “Early Afterlife” (1995). She is the recipient of Poetry Magazine’s 2003 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a $100,000 award given for lifetime achievement.

The Poetry and Literature Center administers the annual poetry and literature reading series at the Library, sponsored since 1951 by the Library’s Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund, and is the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1936. The Poet Laureate suggests authors to read in the literary series and plans special literary events during the reading season. For more information about the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center, the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry and related events, visit the Web site at


PR 06-054
ISSN 0731-3527