Pulitzer Prize Winner, National Book Award Winner

March 16, 1999


A range of award-winning poets and critics, including two Pulitzer Prize winners and a National Book Award winner, will participate in the fifth annual Beall Poetry Festival, scheduled for March 23-25 at Baylor University. All events are free and open to the public.

The festival begins with a poetry reading at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, by Gary Soto, author of eight books of poetry for adults and numerous works of poetry, prose and film for children and young adults. Soto, who has a strong following in the Mexican-American community, is a past recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Medal, The U.S. Award of the International Poetry Forum, an American Book Award and the Academy of American Poets Prize. Soto's latest volume is Junior College, published in 1997 by Chronicle Books.

At 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Adrienne Rich, the 1996 Tanning Prize recipient, will give a poetry reading. She is the author of 16 books of poetry and has taught English and feminist studies at Columbia, Brandeis, Cornell, San Jose State and Stanford universities. In addition to the Tanning Prize -- the largest monetary prize for poetry given in the U.S. -- Rich is a past winner of the 1974 National Book Award in poetry, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Her most recent volume is Midnight Salvage, published this year by W.W. Norton.

The festival continues at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday with a poetry panel of invited poets and critics. The panel discussion will be held in the Mabee Theater of the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center.

The Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry will be held at 8 p.m. that evening and given by Joanne Feit Diehl. The author of three books of literary criticism, Diehl's fields of study include feminist literary theory, psychoanalytic theory and contemporary American poetry, with concentrations on Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop.

Two poetry readings conclude the festival on Thursday, March 25. Pulitzer Prize-winning Yusef Komunyakaa will read at 3:30 p.m. Born in Bogalusa, La., Komunyakaa received a Bronze Star for his service in the Vietnam, where he was a front-lines correspondent and editor of the Southern Cross, a military newspaper. He currently serves as a professor of creative writing at Princeton University. Komunyakaa won the Pulitzer for poetry in 1994. He also has won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the William Faulkner Prize from the Universite di Rennes, and many other awards. His most recent volume of poetry is Thieves of Paradise, published in 1998 by Wesleyan University Press.

Another Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Philip Levine, concludes the festival with a reading at 8 p.m. that evening. The author of more than 20 books of poetry, Levine won the Pulitzer in 1995 for The Simple Truth. He also has won the 1991 National Book Award in poetry for What Work Is, the 1980 National Book Award in poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and many others. His forthcoming volume, The Mercy, will be published in April of this year. The Beall Poetry Festival is supported by the John A. and DeLouise McClelland Beall Endowed Fund, established in 1994 by Mrs. Virginia Beall Ball of Muncie, Ind., to honor her parents and to encourage the writing and appreciation of poetry.

All events, except the poetry panel, will be held in the Meadows Recital Hall of the McCrary Music Building on the Baylor campus.

For more information, call the Baylor department of English at (254) 710-1768 or visit the Beall Poetry Festival web site at http://pr.baylor.edu/Beall .

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