Contact: Yvonne French (202) 707-9191
April 21, 1998
Poet Laureate Consultant Robert Pinsky to Read at the Library of Congress May 7
Event Concludes Library's 1997-98 Literary Series
Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Robert Pinsky will close the 1997-98 literary series at the Library of Congress with a reading from his work May 7 in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The reading will begin at 6:45 p.m. Tickets and reservations are not required.
Mr. Pinsky teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Boston University. He is the author of five books of poetry: Sadness and Happiness (1975); An Explanation of America (1979), awarded the Saxifrage Prize as the year's best volume of poetry from a small or university press; History of My Heart (1983), which won the William Carlos Williams Prize; The Want Bone (1990); and The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems, 1966-1996 (1996).
He is the translator of The Separate Notebooks, by Czeslaw Milosz (1983). His verse translation of The Inferno of Dante (1994) was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in poetry and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, given by the Academy of American Poets. He is also a recipient of the 1996 Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Award.
Mr. Pinsky is the author of three collections of essays: Landor's Poetry (1968), The Situation of Poetry (1977), and Poetry and the World (1988). Having served as poetry editor of The New Republic through much of the 1980s, he is currently poetry editor of the weekly Internet magazine Slate.
As Poet Laureate, Mr. Pinsky initiated the Favorite Poem Project, which will result in a video and audio archives of Americans reading aloud their favorite poems. Favorite Poem is a major project of the library's celebration of its bicentennial in the year 2000. "The archive would be a record," he states, "at the end of the century, of what we choose, and of what we do with our voices and faces, when asked to say aloud a poem that we love." Individuals interested in participating may write to him at Boston University, Creative Writing Department, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, stating which poem they would like to read or recite and why.
The Library of Congress will preserve in its unique poetry archives the recordings of those readings that the Poet Laureate selects.
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.
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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