Nobel Prize-Winning Author to Read at Beall Poetry Festival March 29-31

  • News Photo 4010
    Derek Walcott
  • News Photo 4013
    Rosanna Warren
  • News Photo 4012
    Michael Harper
  • News Photo 4011
    James Longenbach
March 27, 2007

Derek Walcott, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, will read from his works during Baylor University's celebrated Beall Poetry Festival. The annual event, now in its 13th year, will take place Thursday, March 29, through Saturday, March 31, in the Meadows Recital Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building on the Baylor campus. All events are free and open to the public.

Walcott was born in 1930 in St. Lucia, the West Indies, and published his first book of poems at age 18. After graduating from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, he moved to Trinidad in 1953, where he worked as a poet, journalist, dramatist and art critic. Currently, he divides his time between the Caribbean and the United States, teaching literature and creative writing at Boston University.

Walcott is author of numerous poetry collections and plays, including his latest works Collected Poems: 1948-1984 (1986), Omeros (1990), The Bounty (1997) and Tiepolo's Hound (2000). His plays include Three Plays: The Last Carnival; Beef, No Chicken; and A Branch of the Blue Nile (1969), Remembrance and Pantomime (1980), The Isle is Full of Noises (1982) and The Odyssey: A Stage Version (1992).

The recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, Walcott has received a Royal Society of Literature award and a Queen's Medal for Poetry. He also is an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Walcott will give a reading of his poetry at 8 p.m. March 31 in Meadows Recital Hall and will participate in a panel discussion earlier that day at 3:30 p.m., with fellow festival participants Rosanna Warren and Michael Harper.

The Emma MacLachlan Metcalf Professor of the Humanities at Boston University, Warren is the author of four books of poems. A chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1999 to 2005, Warren has received numerous honors, including a Pushcart Prize. In 1997, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Warren will read selected poems at 8 p.m. March 29 in Meadows Recital Hall.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Harper is University Professor at Brown University. His Dear John, Dear Coltrane: Poems appeared in 1970 and was nominated for a National Book Award. It was the first of more than 10 distinguished volumes of verse. Harper served as the first Poet Laureate of Rhode Island from 1988 to 1993 and is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His reading will begin at 8 p.m. March 30 in Meadows Hall.

James Longenbach, The Joseph Henry Gilmore Professor of English at the University of Rochester, will deliver the Virginia Beall Ball Lecture in Contemporary Poetry at 3:30 p.m. March 30 in Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center. As a literary critic with a focus on modernist and contemporary poetry, Longenbach has written six books and more than 100 articles and reviews, which have appeared in a variety of journals and magazines, including The New York Times Book Review, The Nation and The Yale Review. His book Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats, and Modernism was named Best Book of 1989 by the Irish Times.

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.

For more information, call (254) 710-1768 or visit

Looking for more news from Baylor University?