Press contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639; Paulette Beete at NEA (202) 682-5601
Public contact: Patricia Gray (202) 707-5394

September 18, 2008

An Evening of Irish Poetry at the Library of Congress on Oct. 2

Northern Ireland is a relatively small area, but it’s managed to produce, in the past 50 years, a large number of talented poets. A new anthology "The New North: Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland" features the work of these Northern Irish voices.

To celebrate the publication of the book, the Library of Congress will join the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Wake Forest University Press in hosting a poetry reading by poets Sinéad Morrissey and Chris Agee, who served as the anthology’s editor.

The poets will read their own work and other selections from the anthology at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Library of Congress in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. Dana Gioia, chairman of the NEA, will moderate the presentation. A reception, hosted by the Northern Ireland Bureau, will follow. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations should be made by calling (202) 682-5759 or e-mailing TheNewNorth@arts.gov.

Morrissey was born in 1972 and grew up in Belfast. She attended Trinity College in Dublin, where she earned B.A. and Ph.D. degrees. She has published three collections of poetry, "The State of the Prisons" (2005), "Between Here and There" (2001) and "There Was Fire in Vancouver" (1996). Morrissey lives in Belfast, where she lectures at Queen’s University.

Agee was born in 1956 in San Francisco and grew up on the East Coast of the United States. He attended Harvard University, where he studied with poet and translator Robert Fitzgerald. Since 1979 Agee has lived in Ireland and now lives in Belfast with his family. He is the author of two books of poetry, "Unfinished Ireland: Essays on Hubert Butler" (2003) and "The New Hampshire Woods" (1992). Agee edits Irish Pages, a journal of contemporary writing based at The Linen Hall Library, Belfast. He writes reviews for the Irish Times and is currently completing a new collection of poems, "Next to Nothing." He also teaches for The Open University in Ireland.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with more than 138 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. As the world’s largest repository of knowledge and creativity, the Library is a symbol of democracy and the principles on which this nation was founded. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site, in its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill, and through its award-winning Web site at www.loc.gov. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at www.myLOC.gov.

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established, bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, NEA is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities and military bases. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.

Wake Forest University Press is a non-profit literary publisher located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on the campus of Wake Forest University. The press was established in 1976, and is the premier publisher of Irish poetry in North America. For more information, visit www.wfu.edu/wfupress.

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PR 08-162
09/18/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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