January 25, 1999 Library of Congress Announces Spring 1999 Literary Series
Press Contact: Yvonne French (202) 707-9191
Public Contact: Poetry and Literature Center Recorded Announcement (202) 707-5394
The spring 1999 series of public literary events, sponsored by the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund, will offer poetry readings by a variety of writers, as well as a Favorite Poem reading during National Poetry Month. The Favorite Poem project is part of the Library's celebration of its Bicentennial in 2000.
All events are free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. They begin at 6:45 p.m. and, unless noted, will be held in either the Mumford or the Montpelier room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E.
The season begins on February 4 with a reading by the poets Agha Shahid Ali and Rafael Campo in the Mumford Room. Mr. Ali, born in Kashmir, is on the poetry faculty of the M.F.A. Creative Writing Program at the University of Massachusetts; the most recent of his seven collections of poetry is The Country with a Post Office. Mr. Campo, a medical doctor who teaches and practices at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, is the author of What the Body Told.
On February 18 in the Mumford Room, poets Mark Doty and Dionisio Martínez will read from their work. Mr. Doty's most recent collection of poetry is Sweet Machine; he is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award, among many others. Mr. Martínez was born in Cuba and now lives in Tampa, Fla.; his most recent collection is Bad Alchemy, which was included in the New York Public Library's 1995 "Books to Remember" list.
On February 25, Richard Howard and Mary Kinzie will read in the Mumford Room. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Howard has published many works of translation as well as collections of his poetry, most recently Like Most Revelations. Ms. Kinzie has taught the reading and writing of poetry, Victorian and modern literature, the reading and writing of fiction, and the history and theory of versification at Northwestern University since 1975. Her fifth collection of poetry is Ghost Ship.
On March 4 in the Montpelier Room, poets Donald Hall and Charles Simic will read from their work. Mr. Hall is the author of four plays, 14 collections of poetry and 21 prose works. His most recent book, Without: Poems, explores his feelings about the illness and death of his wife and fellow poet, Jane Kenyon. Mr. Simic, who received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his collection The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems, was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, emigrating to the United States at the age of 16. His most recent collection, Jackstraws: Poems, will be published this year.
On March 11 in the Mumford Room, Teman Treadway will present "To Ithaca: Selections from Homer's Odyssey Read in the Various English Translations." Mr. Treadway has acted in many theatrical productions, most recently in Women of Troy, The Lady's Not for Burning, The Man of La Mancha, and Crossing Delancey. In previous appearances in the Library of Congress literary series, he read the English translations of three Pegasus Prize-winning novels, and, last season, he read from the works of William S. Burroughs in the program "The Name Is Burroughs."
On March 25, poets Stuart Dischell and Brenda Hillman will read in the Mumford Room. Mr. Dischell is the author of Good Hope Road, a National Poetry Series Selection; and Evenings & Avenues. Ms. Hillman teaches at St. Mary's College in Moraga, Calif.; two of her most recent collections are Bright Existence and Loose Sugar.
In a special National Poetry Month program on April 7, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library's Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., 1998-99 Witter Bynner Fellow David Gewanter will bring together a diverse group of Washingtonians to share poems that have influenced their lives.
The final program of the 1998-99 literary series will be on May 5, also in the Coolidge Auditorium. Robert Pinsky, 1997-99 Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, will read from his work. Mr. Pinsky's Favorite Poem project continues to encourage Americans to read or recite a favorite poem; readings have occurred across the United States, and the production of an archive of recordings of people reading their favorite poems is under way. Individuals interested in submitting suggestions may write to Mr. Pinsky, Creative Writing Department, Boston University, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215.
The Poetry and Literature Center, which administers the poetry 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. Archibald MacLeish, who was Librarian from 1939 to 1944, determined the Consultant in Poetry should be an annual appointment. 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. Mr. Pinsky, who is the 1997-1999 Laureate, is the award-winning translator of The Inferno of Dante and a creative writing professor at Boston University. He suggests authors to read in the literary series, plans other special events during the literary 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.