March 13, 2012 Conversation with South African Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile, April 3

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Casper (202) 707-5394
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6382 (voice/tty) or

The Library of Congress, in collaboration with the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa, will host a conversation with South African Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile.

The event, part of a series titled “Conversations with African Poets and Writers,” will start at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC.

The program is co-sponsored by the Poetry and Literature Center and the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are needed. Book sales and signing will follow.

Kgositsile will discuss the state of contemporary African culture, including poetry and literature, with LaVerne Page, an area specialist in the African and Middle Eastern Division.

Kgositsile has held the South African laureateship since 2007. His 10 volumes of poetry include “This Way I Salute You,” “My Name is Afrika,” “Heartprints,” “To the Bitter End” and “If I Could Sing: Selected Poems.” He has received numerous awards, including the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition to his writing, Kgositsile has taught at universities throughout the United States and Africa.

The African and Middle Eastern Division is the Library’s center for the study of some 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East to Central Asia. The African Section is the focal point of the Library's collection development, reference, and bibliographic activities for the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. For information on its collections, visit

The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress fosters and enhances the public’s appreciation of literature. The center administers the endowed poetry chair (the U.S. Poet Laureate), and coordinates an annual literary season of poetry, fiction and drama readings, performances, lectures and symposia, sponsored by the Library’s Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund and the Huntington Fund. For more information, visit

The Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. The mission of The Africa Society is to educate all Americans about the diverse cultures, histories and economies of the countries comprising the continent of Africa. For more information, visit External.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 151.8 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at


PR 12-054
ISSN 0731-3527