Contact: Yvonne French (202) 707-9191

November 18, 1997

Poets Heather McHugh and Ellen Bryant Voigt To Read at the Library of Congress

Poets Heather McHugh and Ellen Bryant Voigt will read from their poems at 6:45 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Library of Congress. The reading will take place in the Montpelier Room, on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building. Tickets are not required.

Heather McHugh has been professor of English and Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington (Seattle) for the past decade, and a visiting faculty member in the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College since its inception. She has translated the work of Jean Follain, and (with her husband, Niko Boris McHugh) collections of poems by Blaga Dimitrova and by Paul Celan. She is also the author of a collection of essays, Broken English: Poetry and Partiality (1993). Her most recent collection of poetry is Hinge & Sign (1994).

A review of Ms. McHugh's poetry in the Voice Literary Supplement describes her poems as "honest and essential as a blood count. ... Her speech is stripped down to the last contraction, tested for resonance and worked back into idioms that can bear ironic weight. You can open anywhere, almost at random, and find plain revelations. ... Her poems are open, resilient, invisibly twisted: part safety net, part trampoline."

Ellen Bryant Voigt is the author of five volumes of poetry: Claiming Kin (1976); The Forces of Plenty (1983, reissued 1995); The Lotus Flowers (1987), Two Trees (1992) and Kyrie (1995), a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. She is also the co-editor, with Gregory Orr, of Poets Teaching Poets (1996), a collection of craft essays. A graduate of Converse College in Spartanburg, S.C., and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, she founded and directed an M.F.A. writing program at Goddard College and now teaches the program at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, N.C. A recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, Ms. Voigt was a Lila Wallace/Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow in 1993 and 1996 and was the 1997 Elliston Poet at the University of Cincinnati. "Ellen Bryant Voigt's new collection of terrifying and celebratory sonnets," says the Missouri Review, "imaginatively re-creates voices lost in the pandemic. ... [Her] vivid characters put a human face on this massive loss. Their individual testimonies climb and blend into a single human voice singing against the plague."

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.

Current Poet Laureate Robert 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 special 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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PR 97-198
11/18/97
ISSN 0731-3527

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