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

March 28, 1995

"Oil on the Waters: The Black Diaspora" Conference To Be Held at the Library of Congress

A conference at the Library of Congress will explore the African diaspora through the eyes of its artists on April 19 and 20. The conference, part of the Library's spring 1995 literary season, will be presented by Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Rita Dove and is sponsored by the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund. The four conference sessions will be held in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave S.E. Tickets are not required.

On Wednesday, April 19, at 3:00 p.m., "Facets of the Diaspora" will be moderated by Hazel Carby; participants will be Gerald Early, Claire Harris, Yusef Komunyakaa, and E. Ethelbert Miller. The evening reading, at 6:45, will feature Gerald Early, Wilson Harris, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Astrid Roemer.

On Thursday, April 10, the 3:00 p.m. panel, "The Word Made Flesh: Literature, Carnival, and the Performing Arts," will be moderated by Charles Rowell; panelists will be Wilson Harris, Errol Hill, Dolores Kendrick, Paule Marshall, Walter Mosley, and Astrid Roemer. The 6:45 p.m. reading will be by Claire Harris, Paule Marshall, and Walter Mosley.

Each evening's reading will be followed by a reception for the audience, with live music from Island Sounds, playing calypso, reggae, and steel drum music.

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 an 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 95-049
ISSN 0731-3527

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