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

March 23, 1995

Berlin Poets Will Read at the Library of Congress

On Monday evening, April 3, in a special program entitled "Berlin Poets," Heinz Czechowski, Durs Grünbein, Lioba Happel, and Richard Wagner will read from their work; Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Rita Dove will introduce them. The program, sponsored by the Goethe-Institut Washington and the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin with assistance from the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund, will be in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are not required. Poems will be read in the original German and in English translation.

Heinz Czechowski was born in Dresden in 1935. After studying graphic art and advertising, he enrolled at the Johannes B. Becher Institute for Literature. He now lives in Leipzig. A member of the Authors Society and the PEN-Zentrum of Eastern Germany, he writes literary criticism and essays in addition to poetry. He has won the Goethe-Prize of the City of Berlin, the Heinrich-Heine-Prize, and the Heinrich-Mann-Prize of the Academy of Art in Berlin. Mr. Czechowski's most recent books are Der Meister und Margarita (1986), Kein näheres Zeichen (1987), and Ich und die Folgen (1987).

Durs Gränbein was born in Dresden in 1962. He studied theater history at Humboldt University in East Berlin. His books of poetry, among them Grauzone morgens (1988) and Schädelbasislektion (1991), have been awarded a number of major prizes. His most recent book, Falten und Fallen, was awarded the Peter-Huchel Prize. Mr. Grünbein is also an editor, translator, and essayist. He has been living in Berlin since 1984.

Lioba Happel was born in Franken, Germany, in 1957. Upon completing her first degree, she began a career as a social worker, continuing her studies in Berlin, majoring in German and Spanish literature. She currently lives in Berlin. Ms. Happel received the Villa Massimo Prize in 1994; her other awards include the Leonce-and-Lena and Hölderlin Prizes. Her publications include collections of poetry and stories, among them vers reim und wecker, Grüne Nachmittage, Ein Hut wie Saturn, and Der Abgrund.

Richard Wagner was born in an ethnic German community in Romania in 1952. After studying German at the University of Temeswar, he became a German teacher in Hunedoara. He wrote for the weekly newspaper of the city of Brasov (Kronstadt). After being arrested, prohibited from publishing his work, and forced to resign from the Brasnov newspaper, he emigrated to Germany, settling in West Berlin. Among Mr. Wagner's awards are the Leonce-and-Lena Special Prize for the best political poem, a prize from the Henning-Kaufmann-Stiftung, and a scholarship from the Villa Massimo in Rome. His books include Klartext. Ein Gedicht (1973), Anna und die Uhren. Ein Lesebuch für kleine Leute (1987), and a novel, Die Muren von Wien (1990).

The Goethe-Institut's general mission, dating back to 1951, is to promote a wider knowledge of the German language abroad and to foster cultural cooperation between Germany and other countries.

The Literary Colloquium of Berlin, founded by Walter Hllerer in 1962, is a German literary institute that since its inception has worked to promote new literature from eastern and western Germany. Despite the ideological "walls" of former times, the Literary Colloquium has been, for the most part, successful.

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 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 please contact the Disability Employment Program office at (202) 707-9948 TTY and (202) 707-7544 voice.

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PR 95-040
3/22/95
ISSN 0731-3527

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