Beall Poetry Festival Features Pulitzer Prize Winners

April 8, 2005

by Julie Campbell Carlson

The 11th annual Beall Poetry Festival, a three-day celebration of some of America's finest contemporary poets, will feature three renowned poets, including two Pulitzer Prize winners and an acclaimed literary publisher. The event of readings, a panel discussion and the Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry will run Thursday through Saturday, April 14-16, in Baylor University's Armstrong Browing Library.

The festival will begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday with the presentation of student literary awards. At 7 p.m. Margaret Stanton will read from her works. Stanton, professor of English at Indiana University, is the author of six books of poetry, including Snow On Snow (1975), her first book of poetry, which won a Yale Series of Younger Poets Award; Cries of Swimmers (1984); Tales of the Supernatural (1988); Life Among the Trolls (1998); Glacier Wine (2003); and Thigh of Naiad Stew, forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press. Other prizes for her poetry include a Pushcart Prize in 1978 and 1985.

Friday's events will begin at 3:30 p.m. with the Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry by Michael Schmidt. Professor of English and director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England, Schmidt also is the editorial and managing director of Carcanet Press, the internationally acclaimed literary publishing house he founded in 1969, and editor and publisher of PN Review, which he established in 1972 as Poetry Nation.

He has written and edited many books on literature and theory, including Lives of the Poets (Weidenfeld, 1998; Knopf, 1999), The Harvill Book of Twentieth-Century Poetry in English (2000), The Story of Poetry I, II, III, IV, V (Weidenfeld, 2001-2007), and The First Poets: The Greeks (Weidenfeld, 2004; Knopf, 2005). Lives of the Poets was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism in 2002. Among other awards and honors, Schmidt has earned the distinction of Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Pulitzer Prize winner Maxine Kumin will read that night at 7. The author of numerous books of poetry, she published her first book in 1961 with Halfway. Her other works include Up Country: Poems of New England (1972), Looking For Luck (1992), and her most recent work, Bringing Together (2003). Many of her poems are collected in her Selected Poems 1960-1990 (1997). In addition to her poetry, Kumin has published more than 20 children's books, five novels, a collection of short stories, a memoir, and several essay collections including Always Beginning: Essays on a Life in Poetry (2000).

Kumin has received numerous awards, including a Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize from Poetry, and an Academy of American Poets fellowship. She has served as a Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, all four special guests will take part in a panel discussion. The festival's final event will begin at 7 p.m. with a reading by Irish poet Paul Muldoon. Born in Northern Ireland, Muldoon attended Queen's University in Belfast and serves as the Howard G.B. Clark '21 Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University.

His first volume of poetry, Knowing My Place, appeared in 1971 during the growing crisis in Northern Ireland. Many other titles followed including New Weather (1973), Mules (1977), Why Brownlee Left (1980), Quoof (1983), Selected Poems 1968-83 (1986), Meeting the British (1987), Madoc: A Mystery (1990), The Prince of the Quotidian (1994), The Annals of Chile (1994), Hay (1998), Poems 1968-1998 (2001), and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Moy Sand and Gravel (2002).

In addition to a Pulitzer, his recent honors include an American Ireland Fund Literary Award and a Shakespeare Prize, awarded annually for contributions from English-speaking Europe to European cultural heritage. He was professor of poetry at Oxford from 1999-2004, and his lectures from that time are published in The End of the Poem (2004).

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 710-1768.

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