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

March 20, 1996

The Objectivist Legacy: Poet Carl Rakosi To Read at the Library of Congress

On Thursday evening, April 11, poet Carl Rakosi will read from his work in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building. The reading, presented under the auspices of the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund, will begin at 6:45 p.m.; Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Robert Hass will introduce Mr. Rakosi. Tickets are not required.

Carl Rakosi, comments Robert Hass, "who is 83 years old, is the last surviving member of one of the most important literary movements of the 1930s, the Objectivist school. Mr. Rakosi and his colleagues Lorraine Niedecker, Louis Zukofsky, Charles Reznikoff, and George Oppen brought to American poetry an ethical passion, technical firmness, and an openness to experiment just at the moment when the American literary scene seemed to divide itself into two camps: the socially committed schools of poetry and the new critics, with their emphasis on the conservative side of modernism. The Objectivists kept the experimental side of modernism alive and have been rediscovered in the last ten years by young poets everywhere."

Mr. Rakosi recently appeared at a symposium on the Objectivist legacy sponsored by the University of Paris. This will be his first appearance at the Library of Congress.

The most recent publications by and about Carl Rakosi are his Collected Prose (1983); Collected Poems (1986); Carl Rakosi, Man and Poet (1993), a collection of critical essays on his work edited by Michael Heller; and Poems, 1923-1941 (1995), edited by Andrew Crozier. He has won three National Endowment for the Arts awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Poetry Association, and an award from the Fund for Poetry for his contribution to contemporary poetry.

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 96-46
ISSN 0731-3527

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