For Immediate Release

Poetry Foundation Announces Spring 2008 Literary Series

January 14, 2008

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce its 2008 Spring Literary Series. The upcoming season of public poetry events includes poetry readings and lectures by U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic and the second half of American Perspectives, a yearlong collaboration with the Art Institute and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

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Thursday, 24 January, 6 pm
American Perspectives: Four Notable Latino Poets
Francisco Aragón, Brenda Cárdenas, Blas Falconer, Gina Franco

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission.

Francisco Aragón is the author of Puerta del Sol (Bilingual Review Press) and editor of the recent anthology, The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (University of Arizona Press). The founding editor of Momotombo Press, he directs Letras Latinas—the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Brenda Cárdenas is the author of From the Tongues of Brick and Stone. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and is the co-editor of Between the Heart and the Land/Entre el corazón y la tierra: Latina Poets in the Midwest (March Abrazo Press, 2001). Her first full-length collection, Boomerang, is forthcoming from Bilingual Review Press.

Blas Falconer is the author of A Question of Gravity and Light (University of Arizona Press) and the chapbook, The Perfect Hour (Pleasure Boat Studio). He is currently an assistant professor in Languages and Literature at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he also serves as the poetry editor of Zone 3. Falconer won the New Delta Review Eyster Prize for Poetry in 2000 and was a semifinalist for The Nation Poetry Prize in 1998, 2002, and 2003.

Gina Franco’s collection of poems, The Keepsake Storm, was published by the University of Arizona Press Camino del Sol Latina/o Literary Series in 2004. The book was a finalist in several competitions, including Sarabande Books’ Kathryn A. Morton Prize and the Tupelo Press Prize. She divides her time between Galesburg, Illinois, where she is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Knox College, and the Arizona desert where she grew up.

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Wednesday, 13 February, 6 pm
Poetry Off the Shelf: Li-Young Lee

Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
Harold Washington Library Center
400 South State Street
Free Admission.

Li-Young Lee is the author of four critically acclaimed books of poetry, his most recent being Behind My Eyes (Norton, 208) and Book of My Nights (BOA Editions, 2001). His earlier collections are Rose (BOA, 1986), winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University; The City in Which I Love You (BOA, 1991), the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and a memoir titled The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (Ruminator Books, 1995), which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Lee’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 1988 he received the Writers’ Award from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation.

Co-sponsored with the Chicago Public Library.

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Thursday, 6 March, 6 pm
American Perspectives: Robert Pinsky

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission.

Robert Pinsky’s latest book, Gulf Music (2007), is his seventh volume of poetry. The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 was a Pulitzer Prize nominee and received the Lenore Marshall Award and the Ambassador Book Award of the English Speaking Union. His many books about poetry include Poetry and the World, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Sounds of Poetry; and more recently, Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry. His landmark, best-selling translation, The Inferno of Dante, received the Los Angeles Times Book Award in poetry and the Howard Morton Landon Prize for translation. He is also co-translator of The Separate Notebooks, poems by Nobel Prize-winner Czeslaw Milosz. Pinsky served an unprecedented three terms as Poet Laureate of the United States, establishing the Favorite Poem Project during his tenure. The poetry editor for the online magazine Slate, he writes the weekly “Poet’s Choice” column for the Washington Post and teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University.

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Thursday, 13 March, 6 pm
American Perspectives: Peter Sacks on Edward Hopper

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission.

In his lecture “Beautiful Estrangements: Reading in the Light of Edward Hopper,” noted poet, essayist, social critic, and painter Peter Sacks comments on Edward Hopper’s urban and rural settings and the sense of isolation that we perceive in them. Born in South Africa, Sacks is the Marquand Professor of Literature at Harvard University and the author of five collections of poetry, including Natal Command, O Wheel, and Necessity.

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Wednesday, 2 April, 6:30 pm
Poetry Off the Shelf: Mary Oliver

Rubloff Auditorium
Art Institute of Chicago
280 South Columbus Drive
$10, $8 for students, call (312) 899-1229 for tickets.
Proceeds benefit the Poetry Center of Chicago.

Mary Oliver has won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, among many other honors. Her numerous books of poetry include Why I Wake Early (2004); Blue Iris: Poems and Essays (2004); and New and Selected Poems, Volume Two (2005). Among her prose books are A Poetry Handbook (1994); Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems (1999); and Long Life: Essays and Other Writings (2004). Her most recent collection is Thirst (2006). In April 2008, Beacon Press will release her next collection of poems, Red Bird. Mary Oliver lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Co-sponsored with the Poetry Center of Chicago.

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Wednesday, 16 April, 6 pm
Poetry Off the Shelf: Lorna Dee Cervantes and Rigoberto González

Center on Halsted
3656 North Halsted Street
Free Admission.

Lorna Dee Cervantes was born in San Francisco of Mexican and Native American descent. Her first book, Emplumada, won the American Book Award in 1982. Her most recent book, Drive: The First Quartet, appeared from Wings Press in 2006. She is founder and editor-in-chief of Mango Publications, which publishes Mango, a literary review of works by Chicano writers, as well as the literary magazine Red Dirt. She lives in Boulder, where she teaches creative writing at the University of Colorado.

Rigoberto González is the author of two poetry books, So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water until It Breaks, a National Poetry Series selection, and Other Fugitives and Other Strangers, as well as two bilingual children’s books and a memoir, Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa. The recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships and various international artist residencies, he writes a Latino book column twice a month, now entering its sixth year, for the El Paso Times of Texas.

Co-sponsored with the Guild Complex and the Center on Halsted.

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Thursday, 24 April, 6 pm
American Perspectives: Four Saints in Three Acts

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission.

Four Saints in Three Acts, the opera collaboration of composer Virgil Thomson and writer Gertrude Stein, is examined through production slides, musical excerpts, actors, and art commentary.

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Saturday, 26 April, 12 pm
Poetry Off the Shelf: Charles Simic

Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
Harold Washington Library Center
400 South State Street
Free Admission.

Charles Simic, current Poet Laureate of the United States, was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1938, and immigrated to the United States in 1953, at the age of 15. He has lived in New York, Chicago, the San Francisco area, and for many years New England, where he was a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire until his retirement. A poet, essayist, and translator, he has been honored with the Wallace Stevens Award, a Pulitzer Prize, two PEN Awards for his work as a translator, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Simic has published numerous collections of poems, among them, My Noiseless Entourage (2005); Selected Poems: 1963-2003 (2004), for which he received the 2005 International Griffin Poetry Prize; The Voice at 3:00 A.M.: Selected Late and New Poems (2003); and The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems (1990), winner of the Pulitzer Prize. His new book of poems, That Little Something, will be out in Spring of 2008.

Co-sponsored with the Chicago Public Library.

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Thursday, 1 May, 6 pm
American Perspectives: Frank Bidart

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission.

Frank Bidart has taught English at Wellesley College since 1972. A student of Robert Lowell’s at Harvard and editor of Lowell’s Collected Poems, he has published seven collections of his own verse, including Golden State, In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-1990, Music Like Dirt, and Star Dust. In 1998, Bidart won the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress for Desire, which was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, he has also received the Wallace Stevens and Shelley Memorial awards, the Bollingen Prize, and a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation Writer’s Award.

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Thursday, 22 May, 6 pm
American Perspectives: Edward Hirsch

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission.

Prolific critic, essayist, and poet Edward Hirsch introduces his seventh book of poems, Special Orders, and provides insights into key American painters and poets, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Cole, Jackson Pollock, and William Carlos Williams.

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About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

American Perspectives is a yearlong alliance among the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Poetry Foundation designed to explore how artists, composers and writers influenced one another to an unprecedented degree in 19th- and 20th-century America.

For more information, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.

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