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

April 21, 1995

Poet Laureate Rita Dove To Close 1994-95 Literary Season

On Thursday evening, May 4, Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Rita Dove will close the literary season at the Library of Congress with a reading of her poetry. The reading will be at 6:45 p.m. in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. Tickets are not required.

The second woman in the post since the title "Poet Laureate" was added in 1985 to the title "Consultant in Poetry," Ms. Dove concludes her second term with this reading. Rita Dove received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her third collection of poems, Thomas and Beulah (1986); her other books of poetry are The Yellow House on the Corner (1980), Museum (1983), Grace Notes (1989), and Selected Poems (1993). A new collection, Mother Love, will be published in May. Among her other works are a collection of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985), and a novel, Through the Ivory Gate (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.

In the fall of 1994, Ms. Dove's poem Lady Freedom Among Us, which she first readat the ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Capitol and the restoration of the "Freedom" statue on the Capitol dome in October 1993, was published by Janus Press as a limited edition. It became the 4- millionth acquisition of the University of Virginia Libraries, and it was also made accessible on the Internet by the university. Earlier on May 4, the University of Virginia will make a special presentation of Lady Freedom Among Us to the Library of Congress.

Immediately before and after Ms. Dove's reading, the Library will offer for sale copies of The Poet's World, a new Library of Congress publication bringing together the two lectures she delivered as Poet Laureate, "Stepping Out: The Poet in the World" and "'A Handful of Inwardness': The World in the Poet."

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 95-061
ISSN 0731-3527

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