17th Annual Beall Poetry Festival Will Feature Renowned Contemporary Poets

April 5, 2011

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The 17th annual Beall Poetry Festival, a three-day celebration of some of the finest contemporary poetry, will feature four renowned poets. The event will run Wednesday, April 6, through Friday, April 8, on the Baylor campus.

The festival is free and open to the public. Events will include a panel discussion, poetry readings and the Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry.

Wednesday

The festival will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Room 101 of Carroll Science Hall with student literary awards. At 7 p.m., Natasha Trethewey, professor of English and the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University, will give a poetry reading in Kayser Auditorium of Hankamer School of Business.

Trethewey's most recent poetry book, The Native Guard, received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her fourth poetry book, Thrall, is forthcoming in 2012. Her work Bellocq's Ophelia was named 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association. Her first book, Domestic Work, won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, the Lillian Smith Award for Poetry and the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for best first book by an African-American poet.

A native of Gulfport, Miss., Trethewey has also written non-fiction with Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She has received the Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence of the Arts, among other honors.

Thursday

George Lensing, Mann Family Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will present the Virginia Beall Ball Lecture in Contemporary Poetry at 3:30 p.m. in Kayser Auditorium. At 7 p.m., Susan Stewart, Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities and professor of English at Princeton University, will give a poetry reading in Kayser Auditorium.

Lensing is a leading scholar of modern American poetry. He has authored three books and published more than 40 essays in literary journals and books. An expert on Wallace Stevens, Lensing has also served on the editorial board of the Wallace Stevens Journal since 1979.

He previously taught at Louisiana State University and with the Peace Corps in Brazil. He has received the University of North Carolina General Alumni Association's Faculty Service Award, among other honors.

Stewart also directs the Society of Fellows in Liberal Arts at Princeton. Her most recent collection of poems is Red Rover. Her earlier works have received numerous awards, including Columbarium, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Stewart received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as many other honors. She currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Friday

Natasha Trethewey, George Lensing, Susan Stewart and Irish poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill will present a panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. in Room 101 of Carroll Science Hall. At 7 p.m., Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill will give a poetry reading in Kayser Auditorium.

Ni Dhomhnaill has served as the Burns Library Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies at Boston College, as the Naughton Fellow and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Irish Poetry at the University of Notre Dame, and as the Heimhold Visiting Fellow in Irish Studies at Villanova University. She was Ireland Professor of Poetry 2001 to 2004.

A current resident of Dublin, she writes poetry in the Irish Gaelic language. Her poems have been translated into English by well-known Irish poets such as Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley and Paul Muldoon. Her most recent collection is The Fifty Minute Mermaid. She has received the American Ireland Fund Literary Award, among many other honors.

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.

Carroll Science Hall is at 1401 S. Fifth St.

Hankamer School of Business is at 1428 S. Fifth St.

For more information, call (254) 710-1768 or visit http://www.baylor.edu/beall/.

by Susie Typher, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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