January 19, 2010 Library of Congress Announces Spring Literary Season

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Patricia Gray (202) 707-5394

The Library of Congress has announced its 2010 spring literary season, which begins with “Love Poems” in early February and closes with a reading in late May by U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan.

The noontime and evening readings are free and open to the public. Tickets and reservations are not required.


On Tuesday, Feb. 9, the Poetry at Noon program hosts the 16th annual reading of “Love Poems” for Valentine’s Day. Poets Heddy Reid and Margaret Mackinnon will read at noon in the Whittall Pavilion of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Reid, a longtime resident of Washington, D.C., writes lines that often capture the attention of readers immediately, according to Patricia Gray, head of the Poetry and Literature Center. An early love poem says “My eyes will invite you / into the havoc of my heart.” Reid’s chapbook “A Far Cry” was published in 2007. Her poems have appeared in many publications including Alimentum Journal, Yankee Magazine and Sun and Moon.

Mackinnon, of Falls Church, Va., celebrates physicality in her work, according to Gray. In the poem “Landscape after Thomas Eakins,” Mackinnon says “I imagine you now, / wild hair awry, shaggy, wet from the shower …” Mackinnon’s work has appeared in Poetry, New England Review, Georgia Review and other journals. She completed the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Florida, and teaches writing and literature at the Academy of the Holy Cross. Mackinnon has received scholarships and fellowships from three writers’ conferences and has been awarded a residency this summer at the Vermont Studio Center.

On Thursday, Feb. 18, Poet Laureate Kay Ryan will introduce her selections for the 2010 Witter Bynner Poetry Fellowships from the Library of Congress. Each year, for the last 12 years, the Poet Laureate has named two poets of distinction deserving of wider notice to receive the fellowships. This year’s recipients will read at 6:45 p.m. in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.


On Thursday, March 18, poets Albert Goldbarth and Eleanor Wilner will read at 6:45 p.m. in the Mumford Room in the Madison Building.

Goldbarth has twice won the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry, for “Saving Lives” (2001) and “Heaven and Earth: A Cosmology” (1991). He has written 23 other collections of poetry. When his “To Be Read in 500 Years: Poems” was published in 2009, Publisher’s Weekly noted his “ample output, frequently comic effects and reader-friendly free verse.”

Goldbarth’s awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2008 he was awarded the Mark Twain Award for Humorous Poetry by the Poetry Foundation. He is the Adele Davis Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Wichita State University, where he has taught since 1987.

Wilner received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2000. Her latest book is “Girl with Bees in Her Hair” (2004). Of Wilner’s poems, Ryan said “Each is itself something of a modern proverb, using a philosophical economy that impels the reader to rethink the significance of things once taken for granted or thought of as commonly understood.”

Wilner holds a doctorate degree from Johns Hopkins University. Her awards include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Juniper Prize and two Pushcart prizes. Former editor of The American Poetry Review, she is currently an advisory editor of Calyx. She is on the faculty of the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and lives in Philadelphia.

At noon on Tuesday, March 23, a sampling of poems about Washington, D.C., written over the past 60 years, will be read by five poets who are included in a new anthology, “Full Moon on K Street,” which is edited by Kim Roberts. The anthology contains 101 poems written by former and current residents of Washington, D.C. The event will be held in the Whittall Pavilion in the Jefferson Building.


On Thursday, April 1, Poet Laureate Kay Ryan’s project “Poetry for the Mind’s Joy” culminates in a poetry extravaganza on community-college campuses throughout the country. At 1 p.m. Eastern time, Ryan will anchor a videoconference with students and teachers from selected community colleges. The participants will discuss the process of writing poetry. The videoconference will be streamed live to the web, enabling all community colleges to view the discussion.

As part of “Poetry for the Mind’s Joy,” a poetry-writing contest is under way on community-college campuses, and in February winners will be selected on their home campuses. Winning poems will be eligible to appear in the online anthology to be unveiled on April 1 on the Library’s website. The contest is sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association and the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center.

On Tuesday, April 20, the popular celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday will take place at noon in the Whittall Pavilion in the Jefferson Building. Professional actors from the Academy of Classical Acting associated with the Shakespeare Theatre Company will recite monologues, act out scenes and engage in stage fighting. This is the 10th year “Shakespeare’s Birthday Reading” will be held.


At 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, Ryan will close the literary season with a reading of her poems in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Jefferson Building.


PR 10-011
ISSN 0731-3527