Contact: Yvonne French (202) 707-9191
November 5, 1997
Poets Philip Levine and Mark Turpin To Read at the Library of Congress
Poets Philip Levine and Mark Turpin will read their poems at 6:45 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building. Tickets are not required for the free reading.
Philip Levine, who has been honored with two National Book Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, earned a master's degree in fine arts from the University of Iowa in 1957. He has been professor of English at the California State University in Fresno for more than 30 years. Among the more than 20 collections of poetry he has written are Ashes (1979), winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Prize; What Work Is (1991), winner of the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Simple Truth (1994). Other honors include a 1973 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award; the 1974 Frank O'Hara Prize and Levinson Prize, both from Poetry magazine; and the 1987 Ruth Lilly Award from the Modern Poetry Association and the American Council for the Arts.
Publishers Weekly describes Mr. Levine's poems in The Simple Truth as a "mingling of realism and romanticism, involving many near-meetings between them, [producing] fascinating, emotionally persuasive shifts and tonal modulations that closely approach a lived truth. A range of quiet particulars embodies this: a woman wears 'a pink spangled sweater'; a boat is 'a creature of ocean abruptly come to rest.' ... The 'simplicity' of his language, offering an ease of approach to us, seems to give truth (and poetry) to everyone."
Mark Turpin, a master carpenter and crew foreman for a small Berkeley, Calif., construction firm, is the author of Nailer, published this year by Graywolf Press in Take Three: 2, Agni New Poets Series. He attended the Napa Poetry Conference, where he met Robert Pinsky, now Poet Laureate, who invited him to audit the graduate writing workshop at the University of California at Berkeley, where he met his wife, the poet Suzanne Qualls, who has already read in the poetry series this year.
"Mark Turpin's is poetry in which language has the force of thing and action," said the poet Thom Gunn. "But more, he is interested in what goes on inside the heads of his subjects, mason, carpenter, soldier or himself. Thus it is both speculative in texture and direction, with a wonderful tautness and intensity."
The Poetry and Literature Center, which administers the poetry 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. Archibald MacLeish, who was Librarian from 1939 to 1944, determined the Consultant in Poetry should be an annual appointment. 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. Mr. Pinsky, award-winning translator of The Inferno of Dante and a creative writing professor at Boston University, suggests authors to read in the literary series, plans other events during the literary season, and usually introduces the programs.
Interpreting services (American Sign Language, Contact Signing, Oral and/or 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, contact the Disability Employment office at (202) 707-9948 TTY and (202) 707-7544 voice.
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