The Spring Literary Season continues at the Library of Congress with a reading by poets Brigit Pegeen Kelly and J.D. McClatchy, both past finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.
The reading will take place at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 2
, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The program is free and open to the public; no tickets are needed.
Kelly, an English professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is the author of “The Orchard” (2004). The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award in Poetry.
McClatchy, editor of The Yale Review and the recently elected president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, is the author of “Mercury Dressing” (2009). His 2002 collection of poems, “Hazmat,” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. He is an adjunct professor of English at Yale University.
Kelly’s first collection of poems, “To the Place of Trumpets” (1987), was selected by James Merrill for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, and her book “Song” (1995) was a Lamont Poetry Prize winner. Her poems have appeared in “The Pushcart Prize Anthology” and “The Best American Poetry.” Patricia Gray, head of the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center, said “Kelly’s verse describes the sumptuous beauty of nature without turning away from the fierce violence often present in the natural world.”
Kelly is the 2008 recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship. In 2002, Kelly received a humanities award from the University of Illinois for excellence in teaching. She also has taught at the University of California at Irvine, Purdue University and Warren Wilson College, as well as at numerous writers’ conferences in the United States and Ireland.
McClatchy’s books of poetry, in addition to “Mercury Dressing” and “Hazmat,” include “Ten Commandments” (1998); “The Rest of the Way” (1992); “Stars Principal” (1986); and “Scenes from Another Life” (1981). He also has published two collections of essays and has edited nearly 20 books. McClatchy has written musical texts, including eight opera libretti that have been performed around the world. His honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 1991 McClatchy won an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The academy spoke of McClatchy’s writing as possessing “an authentic blend of cognitive force and a savage emotional intensity, brilliantly restrained by his care for firm rhetorical control.” Of McClatchy himself, the academy said, “It may be that no more eloquent poet will emerge in his American generation.”
The reading is part of the Library’s spring 2009 literary season, which includes the popular Poetry at Noon series and the traditional evening readings, and other cultural events sponsored by the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center.
The next Poetry at Noon event is the “15th Anniversary of the Poetry at Noon Program.” Readings by Poetry at Noon alumni will be held at noon on Tuesday, April 7
, in the Whittall Pavilion on the ground level of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The reading will feature nearly 20 poets, each reading a signature poem, according to Patricia Gray, creator and director of the series.