Beall Poetry Festival Features Award-Winning Poets

Feb. 21, 1996

WACO, Texas -- Baylor University's second annual, three-day Beall Poetry Festival will be held Feb. 28-March 1, featuring two distinguished poets, Carolyn Forché and Charles Wright, and literary critic Calvin Bedient. All events associated with the festival are free and open to the public and will take place in the Meadows Recital Hall of the McCrary Music Building.

Forché, author of three books of poetry, will open the festival with a poetry reading at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28. Wright, author of 10 books of poetry, will deliver a presentation titled "What I Didn't Say about your Poems," at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 29. Bedient, author of four works of literary criticism, will give The Virginia Beall Ball Lecture in Contemporary Poetry, titled "Poetry and Silence at the End of the 20th Century," at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 29.

The student literary contest awards ceremony will be held immediately following Bedient's lecture.

On Friday, March 1, Forché will deliver a presentation titled "Poetry of Witness" at 3:30 p.m., and Wright will give a poetry reading at 7:30 p.m. Forché's most recent poetry book The Angel of History (1994) won the Los Angeles Times Book Award. She won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 1975 for Gathering the Tribes. She currently serves as director of the MFA poetry program at George Mason University.

Wright's most recent volume is Chickamauga (1995). He won the National Book Award in 1983 for Country Music: Selected Early Poems. Having taught at several universities, including terms as a Fulbright lecturer and scholar in Italy, Wright currently serves as professor of English at the University of Virginia.

Bedient has written widely on contemporary poetry, including reviews and essays on work by American, British and Irish poets. Bedient's most recent book is He Do the Police in Different Voices: The Waste Land and its Protagonist (1987). He currently serves as professor of English at the University of California at Los Angeles.

The Beall Poetry Festival is supported by the John A. and DeLouise McClelland Beall Endowed Fund, established in 1994 by Virginia B. Ball of Muncie, Ind., to honor her parents and to encourage the creativity and appreciation of poetry.

"This is one of the largest endowments for poetry lectures and festivals in the United States," according to Dr. Robert G. Collmer, professor of English and chair of the festival's steering committee.

Ball, a Baylor graduate, is a longtime donor to Baylor. She established the Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities in 1982 and, in a separate gift, provided funds for the nationally recognized Academy of American Poets Award, given annually to a Baylor student for an original work.

For more information, contact Collmer at 755-1768, or visit the Beall Poetry Festival Web site at "http://www.baylor.edu/departments/PR/Beall/".

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