Popular Beall Poetry Festival Begins March 27

March 17, 2000

The sixth annual Beall Poetry Festival will bring four acclaimed contemporary American poets and a noted literary critic to the Baylor University campus March 27-30 for four days of poetry readings, panel presentations and The Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry.

Literary critic Albert Gelpi begins the festival at 8 p.m. Monday, March 27, with The Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry. The author of four books of literary criticism, Gelpi's most recent work is Living in Time: The Poetry of C. Day Lewis, published in 1998 by Oxford University Press. Gelpi serves as professor emeritus at Stanford University, where he previously served as chair of the American Studies Program, chair of the English department and The William Robertson Coe Professor of American Literature. His lecture will be in the Treasure Room of the Armstrong Browning Library.

Activities on Tuesday, March 28, begin at 3:30 p.m. with a poetry reading by Joy Harjo, a poet, filmmaker and musician. Harjo has written six books of poetry as well as a children's book and an anthology of Native American women's writing. A member of the Muskogee tribe, Harjo's most recent volume of poetry is A Map to the Next World, published this year by W.W. Norton. Her reading will be in the Meadows Recital Hall of the McCrary Music Building.

One of the best-known poets appearing at this year's festival is Robert Bly. A National Book Award winner, Bly was propelled into national prominence in the early 1990s with his book, Iron John: A Book About Men, which helped launch the men's movement. He has written 12 books of poetry, his most recent being Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems, published last year by Harper Collins.

"Robert Bly is certainly one of the best and best-known poets in the world today," said Dr. William V. Davis, professor of English and Writer-in-Residence, who has written two books on Bly. "He, perhaps more than any other contemporary American poet, has had a major impact on poetry world-wide."

Bly's poetry reading will be at 8 p.m. March 28 at the Jones Theater of the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Carolyn Kizer will read at 8 p.m. March 29 in Meadows Recital Hall of the McCrary Music Building. Kizer, author of seven books of poetry, won the Pulitzer in 1985 for Yin: New Poems. She has taught at several universities and in Pakistan as a U.S. State Department specialist in literature. She also has worked on Smithsonian archaeological tours in Afghanistan and Iran.

Naomi Shihab Nye, the author of six books of poetry, will read at 3:30 p.m. March 30 in Meadows Recital Hall. In addition to her poetry, Nye has written and edited several children's books and picture books for children, plus a novel for teen readers. She has traveled to the Middle East and Asia promoting international goodwill through the arts for the U.S. Information Agency. Her most recent volume of poetry is Fuel, published in 1998 by BOA Editions.

Another Pulitzer Prize winner, Charles Simic, closes out the festival at 8 p.m March 30 in Meadows Recital Hall. Simic, who won his Pulitzer in 1990 for The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems, has written 14 books of poetry, his most recent being Jackstraws, published last year by Harcourt Brace. He currently is a member of the faculty at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, where he has taught since 1973.

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 of the festival are free and open to the public. For more information, call the department of English at (254) 710-1768.

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