Former U.S. Poet Laureate To Headline Beall Poetry Festival April 7-9

April 1, 2003
News Photo 1221Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky will headline the Beall Poetry Festival.

A former United States Poet Laureate, an acknowledged poetry scholar and three other distinguished poets will read from their works and discuss contemporary poetry at the ninth annual Beall Poetry Festival, which will run Monday through Wednesday, April 7-9, at the Cashion Academic Center on the Baylor University campus.

The festival will begin at 3:30 p.m. April 7 with a reading by David St. John, who teaches at the University of Southern California. St. John has written five books of poetry, including Study for the World's Body: New and Selected Poems (1994), No Heaven (1985) and Hush (1976), and his work has appeared in many literary magazines such as The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Harper's and The New Republic. He has received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, the prix de Rome fellowship in literature and other awards.

At 8 p.m. that evening Christopher Ricks, the Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University, will deliver the Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry. Ricks, who also co-directs B.U.'s Editorial Institute of the College of Arts and Sciences, will speak on "Dylan and Sin," in which he will discuss Bob Dylan as a contemporary poet.

Ricks has written several books and anthologies, including Essays in Appreciation (1996), Beckett's Dying Words (1993), T.S. Eliot and Prejudice (1988) and Keats and Embarrassment (1974), as well as books on John Milton and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. In 1990 he received the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching at Boston University and served as N. E. H. Distinguished Teaching Professor 1994-97. He is an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College and Worcester College at Oxford University, and was formerly King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge.

On April 8, Molly Peacock and Frank Bidart will read at 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively. Peacock is Poet-in-Residence at Poets' Corner, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and has served as director of the Wilmington (Del.) Writing Workshops since 1979. She has published four books of poems: Original Love (1995), And Live Apart (1980), Raw Heaven (1984) and Take Heart (1989). Her most recent work is Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems (2002).

Bidart teaches at Wellesley College and is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated "Desire" (1997), as well as Golden State (1973), The Sacrifice (1983), In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-90 (1990) and the newly released "Music Like Dirt" (2002). He has received the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Foundation Writer's Award, the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Academy's Wallace Stevens Award, the Shelley Award of the Poetry Society of America, and in 1981, the Paris Review's first Bernard F. Conners Prize for "The War of Vaslav Nijinsky."

The festival will close at 8 p.m. April 9 with a reading by Robert Pinsky, who was named U.S. Poet Laureate from 1997-2000. Pinsky teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University and is the poetry editor of the weekly Internet magazine Slate. He has published six books of poetry, including Jersey Rain (2000) and The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996, which won the 1997 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He also has written four books of criticism, including The Sounds of Poetry (1998), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as two books of translation, including The Inferno of Dante (1994), which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award.

Among his honors are an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the William Carlos Williams Award, Poetry Magazine's Oscar Blumenthal prize and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.

All speakers except for Pinsky also will participate in a panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. April 9.

The Beall Poetry Festival is free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of events, visit http://www.baylor.edu/beall . For more information call (254) 710-1768.

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