Annual Poetry Festival to Feature Pulitzer Prize Winner

March 31, 2006

Baylor University's 12th annual Beall Poetry Festival will feature readings and lectures by some of America's renowned poets, including a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner. Held over three days, the festival will run from Thursday, April 6, through Saturday, April 8, in Armstrong Browning Library and is free and open to the public.

C.K. Williams, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1999 Repair, will read from his works at 7 p.m. Saturday. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including The Singing, which won the National Book Award; The Vigil; A Dream of Mind; Flesh and Blood, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; Tar; With Ignorance; I Am the Bitter Name; and Lies.

Among his many awards and honors are an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry and a Pushcart Prize. Williams teaches in the creative writing program at Princeton University and lives part of each year in Paris.

The festival will begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday with the presentation of the student literary awards. At 7 p.m., poet Heather McHugh will read for her works.

McHugh is the author of numerous books of poetry beginning with Dangers and including A World of Difference, To the Quick, Shades, Hinge & Sign: Poems 1968-1993 (nominated for a National Book Award in 1994) and The Father of the Predicaments.

In addition to her poetry, McHugh has published translations of the work of Jean Follain, Blaga Dimitrova and Paul Celan. Her essay collection Broken English: Poetry and Partiality treats a wide range of international poets.

McHugh has received numerous awards and honors, including a Griffin Poetry Prize, several Pushcart Prizes, a Voelcker PEN Poetry Award, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1999, she was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

At 3:30 p.m. Friday, Bonnie Costello will deliver the Virginia Beall Ball Lecture on Contemporary Poetry. Costello, a professor of English at Boston University, earned a bachelor's degree from Bennington College and a doctorate from Cornell University.

Well known for her work in modern American poetry, she has written a number of articles and books, including Shifting Ground: Reinventing Landscape in Modern American Poetry, Elizabeth Bishop: Questions of Mastery and Marianne Moore: Imaginary Possessions. She was the general editor of The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore.

Among Costello's awards and honors are a United Methodist Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award and a Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has received an American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship and a Mellon Fellowship at Harvard University. In addition, she has served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry on three occasions and the jury for the Bollingen Prize in Poetry.

At 7 p.m., Elizabeth Spires will give a reading. Earning a bachelor's degree from Vassar and a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University, Spires is professor of English at Goucher College in Baltimore, where she holds a Chair for Distinguished Achievement.

Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker and Poetry as well as other magazines and anthologies, including five volumes of the annual The Best American Poetry. Spires is the author of five collections of poetry, including Globe and Now the Green Blade Rises. She also is the author of five children's books, most notably The Mouse of Amherst, cited by Publisher's Weekly as a "Best Book of 1999."

Among Spires' awards and honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writer's Award, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and the Witter Bynner Poetry Prize from the Academy of Arts and Letters.

In addition to the readings and lecture, a panel discussion with McHugh, Costello, Spires and Williams participating will begin at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call (254) 710-1768.

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