Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

September 26, 1994

Poet Laureate Rita Dove Holds Press Conference

Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Rita Dove will hold a press conference on Wednesday, October 5, at 10 a.m. in the Mary Pickford Theater, 3rd floor, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE.

Ms. Dove will discuss her plans for her second term as Poet Laureate, as well as the upcoming series of events and readings, which opens the next day with her lecture "A Handful of Inwardness: The World in the Poet" at 6:45 p.m. in the Montpelier Room, sixth floor, of the Madison Building.

Rita Dove received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for her third collection of poems, Thomas and Beulah; her other books of poetry are The Yellow House on the Corner, Museum, and Grace Notes; her Selected Poems was published in the fall of 1993. A collection of her short stories, Fifth Sunday, appeared in 1985; her novel, Through the Ivory Gate, in 1992. Last spring, Ms. Dove's first verse drama, The Darker Face of the Earth, was published by Story Line Press. A recipient of Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and the Academy of American Poets' Lavan Award, Ms. Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

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.

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PR 94-150
ISSN 0731-3527

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