Nobel Prize-Winning Poet to Read at Beall-Russell Lecture Feb. 7

Jan. 31, 2000

Two award-winning poets -- Czeslaw Milosz, the 1980 Nobel Prize winner for literature, and Robert Hass, Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995-1997 -- will headline the 2000 Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities. "Milosz and Hass in Conversation," scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, in the Jones Theatre in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center, will feature the 87-year-old Milosz reading his poetry in the original Polish with interpretation provided by Hass. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Milosz, who was born in Lithuania but moved to Poland to escape Soviet domination, became a leader of the Polish avant-garde poetry movement in the 1930s and a member of the Nazi resistance during World War II. During the '40s, he served as diplomat for Poland's communist regime in Washington, D.C., but defected to Paris in 1951, where he spent the next decade as a freelance writer. In 1961 Milosz began teaching Slavic languages and literature at the University of California at Berkeley. He has lived in the U.S. since then.

The author of more than three dozen poems, novels and essays in Polish, Milosz often focuses on the historical events that have shaped his life, such as the 1945 poem "Dedication," which speaks of the 1944 Warsaw uprising. His works include Native Realm, Bells in Winter, Facing the River, The Captive Mind and Unattainable Earth.

Hass, who served as translator for many of Milosz' works, is professor of English at Berkeley and served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress from 1995 to 1997. A native of San Francisco, Hass earned his bachelor's degree from St. Mary's College in Moraga, Calif., and his master's degree and doctorate from Stanford University.

He is the author of Praise, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America; Sun Under Wood, the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry; and Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Hass also was named Educator of the Year in 1986 by the North American Association for Environmental Education for his work on the River of Words project, which uses a national poetry and art contest to introduce children to environmental concerns.

The Beall-Russell lectureship program annually brings leading figures in humanities to the Baylor campus. It was endowed in 1982 by Mrs. Virginia Beall Ball of Muncie, Ind., to honor her mother, DeLouise McClelland Beall, and Lily Russell, former dean of women at Baylor.

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