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April 9, 2003

Poet Robert Hass To Host River of Words Ceremony at the Library of Congress on April 26

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass returns to the Library of Congress to moderate a program honoring the student winners of the eighth annual River of Words environmental poetry and art contest at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, James Madison Memorial Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., S.E. in Washington, D.C. The event, hosted by the Library's Center for the Book, is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required.

The program will feature young poets and artists from around the country who will read their poems, display their winning works of art, and speak with Hass about their work. Awards will be presented to eight national grand prize winners, an international prize winner, a River of Words teacher of the year, and to several finalists from the Washington, D.C., area. The contest is open to students from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Hass, who served as Poet Laureate from 1995 to 1997, and writer Pamela Michael founded River of Words in 1995. The project promotes literacy, the arts and environmental awareness by "alerting kids to the natural world and its connection to artistic expression and the human spirit," according to Hass. The U.S. Poet Laureate is appointed by the Librarian of Congress.

"Watersheds" is the theme of the annual poetry and art contest, which is co-sponsored with the Center for the Book. Using its interdisciplinary "Watershed Explorer" curriculum, the project trains teachers, park rangers, youth leaders and other educators about how to incorporate nature and the arts into their work with children and young adults.

A non-profit organization, River of Words publishes an annual book containing each year's winning poetry and art and arranges exhibitions of the winning works at various institutions and events around the country. For further information, visit its Web site at http://www.riverofwords.org.

The Center for the Book was established in 1977 to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy, and libraries. For information about its projects and those of its affiliated state centers and national reading promotion partners, visit its Web site at http://www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/.

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PR 03-064
04/09/03
ISSN 0731-3527

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