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March 30, 2004
Poet Josephine Jacobsen Remembered in National Poetry Month Celebration
In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress celebrates the life and works of Josephine Jacobsen (1908-2003), one of the most accomplished and widely acclaimed poets, short story writers and critics of our time. The program, titled "A Particular Life: Remembering Josephine Jacobsen" is at 6:45. p.m. on Thursday, April 8, in the Mumford Room of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no reservations are required.
"A Particular Life? will feature readings and reminiscences by some of Jacobsen's friends, including John C. Broderick, former director of the Reference Department of the Library of Congress; John Dorsey, former arts editor at the Baltimore Sun; Evelyn Prettyman, whose friendship with Jacobsen began when Prettyman was writing her doctoral dissertation on Jacobsen; and Elizabeth Spires, poet and professor at Goucher College.
Josephine Jacobsen's distinguished career as poet and writer spanned more than six decades, from the publication of her first poem at age 11 to her 1994 American Academy of the Arts Citation, which celebrated her as a recipient of almost every major poetry award. Her book, In the Crevice of Time: New and Collected Poems (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), received the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award in 1996. In 1988 she won the L. Marshal Award for the best book of poetry, The Sisters, published the previous year. Jacobsen received the Shelley Memorial Award in 1993 from the Poetry Society of America and, in 1994, was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters.
The Poetry Society of America awarded Jacobsen its highest honor, the Robert Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry, in 1997. She received honorary degrees from Goucher College, the College of Notre Dame in Maryland, Towson University and Johns Hopkins University. From 1971 to 1973, Jacobsen served two terms as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, a post that would later be renamed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.
Other collections of Jacobsen's poetry include The Chinese Insomniacs: New Poems (1981); The Shade-Seller: New and Selected Poems (1974); The Animal Inside? (1966); The Human Climate: New Poems (1953); and Let Each Man Remember (1940).
The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress dates from 1936, when Archer M. Huntington endowed the Chair of Poetry at the Library. The center was founded in the 1940s and has been almost exclusively supported since 1951 by a gift from the late Gertrude Clarke Whittall, whose goal was to bring the appreciation of good literature to a larger audience.
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