Beall Poetry Festival To Focus On Social Justice

March 16, 2001

Five poets who have championed social justice issues in their works will headline the seventh annual Beall Poetry Festival at Baylor University March 26-29. This year's festival, with the theme of "Poetic Justice," features W.S. Merwin, Robert Hass, Linda Hogan, Alicia Ostriker and Christopher Merrill.

Merrill will deliver the Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry at 8 p.m. Monday, March 26. A poet, translator, critic and essayist, he directs the renowned International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and is the author of three collections of poems, including "Watch Fire," for which he received the Peter I.B. Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Pulitizer Prize-winner Merwin, who will give a poetry reading at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, is one of America's most distinguished living poets, as well as a noted translator and environmental activist. He was awarded the Pulitzer in 1970 for his book of poems, "The Carrier of Ladders," and his collection of new poems, "The Pupil," will be published this year.

At 8 p.m. March 28, past U.S. Laureate Hass will read. A professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley, he received a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, has twice been awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award and has won the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize. In 1997, Hass was chosen Educator of the Year by the North American Association of Environmental Education.

Ostriker's collection of poetry, "The Crack in Everything" and "The Little Space, Poems Selected and News, 1968-1998," both were nominated for a National Book Award. She also is the author of the collections "The Mother/Child Papers" and "The Imaginary Lover" and has written "The Nakedness of the Fathers: Biblical Visions and Revisions." Ostriker will read at 3:30 p.m. March 28.

Hogan is a Chickasaw poet, novelist, essayist, playwright and activist and is widely considered to be one of the most influential comtemporary native American writers. Her awards and honors include a National Book Award in 1985 for her collection "Seeing Through the Sun," and she has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award. She will read at 8 p.m. March 29.

A panel discussion with Merrill, Ostriker and Merwin will be at 10 a.m. March 28.

The Beall Poetry Festival is supported by the John A. and DeLouise McClelland Beall Endowed Fund, established in 1994 by 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. Evening events are in the Meadows Recital Hall in the McCrary Music Building. Day events are in the Treasure Room in the Armstrong Browning Library.

For more information, visit the web site at or call the department of English at (254) 710-1768.

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