January 9, 1999 Poets Agha Shahid Ali and Rafael Campo to Read at Library

Press Contact: Yvonne French (202) 707-9191
Public Contact: Poetry and Literature Center Recorded Announcement (202) 707-5394

Poets Agha Shahid Ali and Rafael Campo will read from their work at the Library of Congress at 6:45 p.m. February 4 in the Mumford Room, on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The reading is presented under the auspices of the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund. Tickets are not required.

Mr. Ali is on the poetry faculty of the M.F.A. Creative Writing Program at the University of Massachusetts; this semester he is a visiting professor in the creative writing program at Princeton University.

His seven collections of poetry include The Half-Inch Himalayas, A Nostalgist's Map of America, and, most recently, The Country Without a Post Office, a collection that focuses on the current turmoil in Kashmir, where he was born and where he spends his summers.

Among his honors and awards are a Pushcart Prize, Guggenheim and Ingram-Merrill fellowships, and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Breadloaf Writers' Conference, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Rafael Campo is a medical doctor who teaches and practices at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School) in Boston. His most recent collection of poetry is What the Body Told (1996). A collection of essays, The Poetry of Healing: A Doctor's Education in Empathy, Identity and Desire, was published in 1997.

The poetry and literature reading series at the Library of Congress is the oldest in the Washington area, and one of the oldest in the United States. This annual series of public poetry and fiction readings, lectures, symposia, and occasional dramatic performances began in the 1940s and has been almost exclusively supported since 1951 by a gift from the late Gertrude Clarke Whittall, who wanted to bring the enjoyment and appreciation of good literature to a larger audience. The Poetry and Literature Center, which administers the series, is also the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1936, when the late philanthropist Archer M. Huntington endowed the Chair of Poetry at the Library of Congress. Since then, many of the nation's most eminent poets have served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and, after the passage of Public Law 99-194 in 1985, as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. The Poet Laureate suggests authors to read in the literary series, plans other special literary events during the reading season, and usually introduces the programs.

Interpreting services (American Sign Language, Contact Signing, Oral and/or Tactile) will be provided if requested five business days in advance of the event. Call (202) 707-6362 TTY and voice to make a specific request. For other ADA accommodations, contact the Disability Employment office at (202) 707-9948 TTY and (202) 707-7544 voice.


PR 99-001
ISSN 0731-3527