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

April 23, 1996

Poet Laureate Robert Hass Closes 1996 Literary Season

Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Robert Hass will bring to a close the 1995-96 literary season at the Library of Congress with a lecture entitled "The Cultures of American Poetry" on Thursday, May 2. The program, which begins at 6:45 p.m., will be held in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building. Tickets are not required.

Robert Hass, who was recently appointed to serve a second term as Poet Laureate, was born in San Francisco in 1941. He received his B.A. degree from St. Mary's College, Moraga, California, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University. His first collection of poetry, Field Guide (1973), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His second collection, Praise (1979), took the William Carlos Williams Award. His other works include Twentieth Century Pleasures (1984), a collection of essays that won the National Book Critics Award for criticism in 1985; Human Wishes, a book of poetry and short prose pieces (1989); and The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa (1994). He has worked with poet Czeslaw Milosz as a translator on many of Mr. Milosz's poems in his Collected Poems and in Mr. Milosz's books Provinces (1993) and Facing the River (1995).

Among Mr. Hass's other awards and honors are a Danforth fellowship (1963-67) and a MacArthur Fellowship (1984-89). He is on the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where he continues to teach.

Mr. Hass has brought the work of poets from the western states to local audiences during his tenure and organized a weeklong gathering at the Library of notable nature writers.

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 96-62
ISSN 0731-3527

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