March 7, 2013 Poet Laureate Chooses Sharon Dolin and Shara McCallum for Witter Bynner Award and Reading

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U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey has chosen poets Sharon Dolin and Shara McCallum for the 2013 Witter Bynner Fellowships, and will introduce the poets on April 2 for a reading at the Library of Congress.

Dolin and McCallum will read their poems at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are needed.

Dolin and McCallum each will receive a $10,000 fellowship, provided by the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry. This is the 16th year the fellowships have been awarded.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said “These fellowships—to poets whose distinctive talents and craftsmanship merit wider recognition—provide a wonderful way for the Laureate, the Library and the Witter Bynner Foundation to encourage poets and poetry.”

Commenting on her selections, Trethewey said “Shara McCallum and Sharon Dolin are poets whose work I've admired for some time, whose collections continue to surprise and delight, and are deserving of a wider audience.”

Dolin is the author of five collections of poetry, including “Whirlwind” (2012), “Burn and Dodge” (2008), “Realm of the Possible” (2004), “Serious Pink” (2003) and “Heart Work” (1995). Dolin is a visiting professor of creative writing at Hofstra University and also teaches at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York City.

McCallum is the author of four collections of poetry, including “The Face of Water: New and Selected Poems” (2011), “This Strange Land” (2011), “Song of Thieves” (2003), and “The Water Between Us” (1999). She directs the Stadler Center for Poetry and teaches creative writing and literature at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa.

The Witter Bynner fellowships are to be used to support the writing of poetry. Only two things are asked of the fellows: that they organize a reading in their hometown and participate in a reading and recording session at the Library of Congress. Applications are not taken for the fellowships; the Poet Laureate makes the selection.

The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry was incorporated in 1972 in New Mexico to provide grant support for programs in poetry through nonprofit organizations. Witter Bynner was an influential early-20th-century poet and translator of the Chinese classic “Tao Te Ching,” which he named “The Way of Life According to Laotzu.” He traveled with D.H. and Frieda Lawrence and proposed to Edna St. Vincent Millay (she accepted, but then they changed their minds). He worked at McClure's Magazine, where he published A.E. Housman for the first time in the United States, and was one of O. Henry's early fans.

For further information on Witter Bynner fellowships and the poetry program at the Library of Congress, visit


PR 13-043
ISSN 0731-3527