15th Annual Beall Poetry Festival Features Renowned American Contemporary Poets March 26-28

March 24, 2009

by Lauren Venegas, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

The 15th annual Beall Poetry Festival, a three-day celebration of some of America's finest contemporary poets, will feature four renowned poets on Baylor University's campus. The festival events, which are free and open to the public, will run Thursday, March 26 through Saturday, March 28 in Armstrong Browning Library and will include a panel discussion, poetry readings and the Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry.

The festival will begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26, with a presentation of student literary awards in room 101 of Carroll Science Hall. At 7 p.m., Peter Fallon, an acclaimed author, editor and publisher, will hold a poetry reading.

Fallon is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, where he taught as Writer Fellow. At the age of 18, in 1970, he founded the Gallery Press, Ireland's leading literary publishing company, and has edited and published more than 400 Gallery books.

With Derek Mahon, he edited the best-selling Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry (1990). His own books include News of the World: Selected and New Poems (1998), The Georgics of Virgil (a Poetry Book Society Recommended translation, 2004, reissued in Oxford World's Classics, 2006) and The Company of Horses (2007). He also was the inaugural Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University.

Friday's events will begin with the four festival participants -- Donald Hall, C.D. Wright, Peter Fallon and David Lehman -- participating in a panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. in Armstrong Browning Library. At 7 p.m., C.D. Wright, the Israel J. Kapstein Professor of English at Brown University, will present a poetry reading.

Wright has published a dozen collections, most recently, Rising, Falling, Hovering (2008). In 2007, Like Something Flying Backwards, New and Selected Poems was published in England. Her collaboration with photographer Deborah Luster, One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana,was awarded the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize and a text edition was also released in 2007. Steal Away was on the international shortlist of the Griffin Trust Award. String Light won the 1992 Poetry Center book Award.

Wright also is a recipient of a MaArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, the Robert Creeley Award and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, David Lehman, teacher and poetry coordinator of the graduate writing program at New School University in New York will present the Virginia Beal Ball Lecture in Armstrong Browning Library.

Lehman's books of poetry include When a Woman Loves a Man (2005), The Evening Sun (2002), and The Daily Mirror (2000) all from Scribner. Yeshiva Boys, his new book of poems, is to come in fall 2009. He also has edited numerous collections, such as The Oxford Book of American Poetry (2006), The Best American Erotic Poems (2008), and Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present (2003).

Lehman's non-fiction books include The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets; Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man; and The Perfect Murder: A Study in Detection. He is concluding a book about classic American popular music, entitled, A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs and will be published under the Nextbook imprint in conjunction with Schocken (Random House) in fall 2009.

In 1988, Lehman initiated The Best American Poetry, and he has since served as the series editor of this distinguished annual anthology.

The festival will conclude at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, with a poetry reading by the 14th United States Poet Laureate from 2006-2007, Donald Hall, in Armstrong Browning Library.

In 1998, he published Without (Houghton Mifflin), a collection of poems expressing his grief over late wife, Jane Kenyon, and her death. Hall also has published 15 books of poetry, beginning with Exiles and Marriages in 1955. In 2006, he published White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946-2006 (Houghton Mifflin), a volume of his essential life's work. In 2008, his memoir Unpacking the Boxes: The Life of a Poet, was published.

Among his books for children, Ox-Cart Man won the Caldecott Medal. His 20 books of prose include Willow Temple: New and Selected Stories (2003); The Best Day the Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon (2005); and a collection of his essays about poetry, Breakfast Served Any Time All Day (2003). He has written extensively about life in New Hampshire in his memoirs Seasons at Eagle Pond (1987), Here at Eagle Pond (2000), and Eagle Pond (2007).

For his poetry, Hall received the Marshall/Nation Award in 1987 for his The Happy Man; both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award in 1988 for The One Day; the Lily Prize for Poetry in 1994; and two Guggenheim Fellowships. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Beall Poetry Festival is supported by the John A. and DeLouise McClelland Beall Endowed Fund, established in 1994 by the late Mrs. Virginia B. Ball of Muncie, Ind., to honor her parents and to encourage the writing and appreciation of poetry. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, call (254) 710-1768, or visit the Beall Poetry Festival Web site at http://www.baylor.edu/beall/.

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