April 6, 1999 Press Briefing with Robert Pinsky, Three-Time Poet Laureate

Contact: Yvonne French (202) 707-9191

WHO: Robert Pinsky, the first Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to serve three consecutive terms in the post

WHAT: Will be available to talk with the press

WHEN: 2-3 p.m. Wednesday, April 7

WHERE: LJ 112, Meeting Room II, Oliver Wendell Holmes Collection, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., ground floor entrance. Please allow time for security inspection.


Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced on April 5 that he reappointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Robert Pinsky to an unprecedented third consecutive term in the post, calling it a "once-in-a-century" arrangement.

Dr. Billington also appointed Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Rita Dove, Louise Glück and W.S. Merwin as Special Consultants to help the Library celebrate its Bicentennial year beginning in April 2000.

The Librarian first named Mr. Pinsky to the annual appointment in 1997, and reappointed him in 1998.

Mr. Pinsky's main undertaking as Poet Laureate is the "Favorite Poem Project." He is selecting a broad cross section of Americans reading aloud their favorite poems as part of the Library's Bicentennial. In April 2000, Mr. Pinsky will present 200 video and 1,000 audio tapes of Favorite Poem readings to the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature as one of the Library's "Birthday Gifts to the Nation."

Mr. Pinsky will participate in a "Favorite Poem" reading at 6:45 p.m. on April 7 in the Coolidge Auditorium in the Thomas Jefferson Building. "Washingtonians Read Their Favorite Poems" will feature Dr. Patch Adams, about whom a major motion picture was made; Clifford Becker, Director of the National Endowment for the Arts' Literature Program; Dr. Billington; Philip Bobbitt, creator of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry; Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.); Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health; Roslyn Walker, director of the National Museum of African Art; and others.

Prior to the event, Mr. Pinsky will participate in the Library's inauguration of "Young People's Poetry Week." From 5 to 6 p.m., he and poets Judith Viorst, Nikki Grimes and young Washington-area poets will read their poetry in the Coolidge Auditorium. There will be refreshments between the events.


PR 99-045
ISSN 0731-3527