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September 21, 2006

Library of Congress Announces Fall 2006 Literary Season

The Library of Congress fall literary season, which will open on Oct. 3 with a reading by Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Donald Hall, will include additional poetry readings on Oct. 12 and 26, Nov. 9 and Dec. 7 by poets Galway Kinnell, David Tucker, Jack Gilbert, Miranda Field, Maxine Kumin, Wesley McNair, Henri Cole, Liam Rector and Judith Harris.

All readings will be held at 6:45 p.m. in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The events are free and open to the public; tickets and reservations are not required.

Hall, who was appointed to the laureateship by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in June, is the author of 15 books of poetry, the latest is “White Apples and the Taste of Stone” (Houghton Mifflin), a selection of poems from 1946 to 2006.

On Thursday, Oct. 12, poets Galway Kinnell and David Tucker will read.

Kinnell is the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University. His forthcoming book of poetry, “Strong is Your Hold,” is due in November. His “Selected Poems” (Houghton Mifflin) won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1982. Another poetry volume “A New Selected Poems” (Houghton Mifflin, 2000) was a finalist for the National Book Award. It is to include “When the Towers Fell,” a poem about lives lost in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Kinnell is a former MacArthur fellow and was the Vermont state poet from 1989 to 1993.

Journalist and poet Tucker studied poetry with Donald Hall and Robert Hayden and is a graduate of the University of Michigan. In 2005, Tucker’s first volume of poetry, “Late for Work,” won a Bakeless Literary Prize from Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. According to the publisher, Houghton Mifflin, “‘Late for Work’ follows reporters jostling for headlines, evoking the gritty glamour of the newsroom in wry, poignant poems.” Tucker has worked for 28 years at leading newspapers and is a member of the New Jersey Star-Ledger team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news.

On Thursday, Oct. 26, Jack Gilbert and Miranda Field will read.

Gilbert’s book “Refusing Heaven” (Knopf, 2005) won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry last year, and his chapbook, “Tough Heaven: Poems of Pittsburgh,” was published in limited edition this year by Pond Road Press. Soon after Gilbert’s first book, “Views of Jeopardy” (Yale University Press, 1962) was published, he received a Guggenheim fellowship and moved overseas to live in England, Denmark and Greece. He toured 15 other countries as a lecturer on American literature for the U.S. State Department. His second book, “Monolithos,” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize of 1983. The title is Greek for “single stone,” a reference to the terrain on the island of Santorini, where he had lived. He is also the author of “The Great Fires: Poems 1982-1992.”

Field was born and reared in London. Her poems have won the “Discovery”/The Nation Award and a Pushcart Prize. Her debut book “Swallow” won a 2001 Bakeless Prize in poetry. According to the book’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin, “*Swallow’ swoops and darts, tangling the lines we draw between the wild and the cultivated.” Field was a teaching fellow at the 2002 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and lives in New York City with her husband, poet Tom Thompson, and children.

On Thursday, Nov. 9, Maxine Kumin and Wesley McNair will read.

Kumin served as 1982-84 Consultant in Poetry, now titled Poet Laureate, to the Library of Congress. This year she won the Poetry Society of America Frost Medal for “Final Poem” in her 15th collection of poetry, “Jack and Other New Poems” (W.W. Norton, 2005). Last year she won the Harvard Arts Medal. Her poetry themes include family relationships, rural life in New England and the inner life of women. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for “Up Country: Poems of New England” (Harper & Row, 1972). Kumin has taught at many universities, including Princeton, Columbia and Brandeis, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is now distinguished poet in residence at the Master in Fine Arts Poetry Program at New England College. She and her husband live with their dogs on a horse farm in New Hampshire.

On Thursday, Dec. 7, Henri Cole, Liam Rector and Judith Harris will read.

Cole’s book “Middle Earth” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003) received the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. A new collection, “Blackbird and Wolf,” is forthcoming in 2007. Cole has four other collections of poetry, including “The Visible Man” (Knopf, 1998) and “The Look of Things” (Knopf, 1995). From 1982 to 1988 he was executive director of the Academy of American Poets, and from 1993 to 1999 he was the Briggs-Copeland lecturer in poetry at Harvard. He has received several fellowships, including ones from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 1995 he received the Rome Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Rector was born in Washington, D.C. He is the author of “The Executive Director of the Fallen World,” recently published by the University of Chicago Press. His two other books of poems are “The Sorrow of Architecture” (Dragon Gate, 1984) and “American Prodigal” (Story Line Press, 1994). He co-edited with Tree Swenson “On the Poetry of Frank Bidart: Fastening the Voice to the Page,” a forthcoming book from the University of Michigan Press. Rector has received Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, and has served as poetry editor of “Harvard Magazine.” He founded, directs and teaches in the graduate writing seminars at Bennington College, and has also taught at Columbia, The New School and George Mason University.

Harris is the author of two books of poetry, “The Bad Secret” (2006) and “Atonement” (2000), both published by Louisiana State University Press. She is also the author of a critical book about poetry and psychoanalysis titled “Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self through Writing” (State University of New York Press, 2003). She teaches at Catholic University and at American University.

The fall readings are coordinated by the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center, which is also the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since the 1936 creation of the Chair of Poetry, endowed by the late philanthropist Archer M. Huntington. Archibald MacLeish, Librarian of Congress from 1939 to 1944, determined that 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 or, after the passage of Public Law 99-194 in 1985, as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

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PR 06-171
ISSN 0731-3527

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