National Endowment for the Arts Presents Fifth Annual Poetry Pavilion at the National Book Festival
Participating poets include new U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic and Children's Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky
September 24, 2007
Washington, DC -- The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will host the fifth annual Poetry Pavilion from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, on September 29, 2007. The pavilion features readings and book signings by seven poets from across the nation -- including newly appointed U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic and Children's Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky -- and two international poets. Hosted by the Library of Congress and Mrs. Laura Bush, the National Book Festival will be held on the National Mall between 7th and 14th streets. All events are free and open to the public.
"The NEA is honored to support the Library of Congress and Mrs. Laura Bush in celebrating America's literary heritage by hosting the Poetry Pavilion again this year," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "One of the NEA's priorities is to restore literature to a meaningful role in U.S. cultural life. We are particularly excited to present the new U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic reading his work alongside the Children's Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky."
The Poetry Pavilion also will feature recitations by 2007 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Amanda Fernandez, a native of the nation's capital, and four Poetry Out Loud State Champions. These recitations will be introduced by NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, a joint project of the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, is an acclaimed national poetry recitation contest for high school students now in its third year.
Charles Simic was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate by Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington this fall, the 15th poet to hold the post since its creation in 1937. The author of 18 books of poetry, Simic received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 for The World Doesn't End, a volume of prose poetry. He also has been a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry; additional honors include a MacArthur Fellowship and the 2007 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. Simic's most recent collection of poetry is My Noiseless Entourage (2005).
The author of more than 40 books of verse, Jack Prelutsky was named the nation's inaugural Children's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in September 2006. During his two-year tenure, Prelutsky will give two major public readings for children and serve as an advisor to the Poetry Foundation on children's literature. Prelutsky's most recent books include In Aunt Giraffe's Green Garden and The Wizard, both published by Greenwillow/HarperCollins earlier this year.
Sponsored by the Embassy of Mexico, award-winning, prolific Mexican poet Francisco Hernández also will read at the pavilion. Three of Hernández's poems were recently collected in the NEA anthology Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico (Sarabande Books, 2006). Representing England, poet and literary biographer Jon Stallworthy also will read from his work, which includes seven volumes of poetry and a critically acclaimed biography of poet Wilfred Owen.
The schedule of events for the Poetry Pavilion is:
Biographies of the participants
Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed poet, critic, educator, and former business executive. He received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and a M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. For fifteen years he supported his writing by working as an executive for General Foods, eventually becoming Vice President of Marketing. Dana Gioia began his term as the ninth chairman in February 2003.
Gioia has published three full-length collections of poetry, as well as eight chapbooks. His poetry collection, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. An influential critic as well, Gioia's 1991 book Can Poetry Matter?, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, is credited with reinvigorating the role of poetry in contemporary American culture and giving rise to popular poetry movements such as poetry slams and cowboy poetry.
Francisco Hernández, born in San Andrés Tuxtla, Veracruz, had no formal education in creative writing or literature. He read voraciously and began writing poetry in the 1970s while he worked in advertising. He has published more than 20 books of poetry. Among them are Mar de Fondo, which earned him the Aguascalientes National Poetry Prize (1982), and Diario sin fechas de Charles B. Waite, for which he was awarded the Jaime Sabines International Poetry Prize (2005). Several of his poems have been translated into English and appear in anthologies such as Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico (Sarabande Books, 2006) and Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2002).
N. Scott Momaday is a poet, novelist, playwright, storyteller, artist, and a professor of English and American literature. He is author of prose collections, plays, and works of Native American culture such as The Way to Rainy Mountain. His books of poetry include In the Bear's House and In the Presence of the Sun: Stories and Poems. His first novel, House Made of Dawn, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969. Among other honors, he received an Academy of American Poets Prize and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. A resident of New Mexico, he is a Kiowa and a member of the Kiowa Gourd Dance Society.
Jack Prelutsky, named the nation's first Children's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation, is the author of more than 40 books of verse and editor of several poetry anthologies. He has charmed children and adults with his witty, musical poems for nearly four decades. His poetry is memorized and recited by children across the country who love his inventive wordplay and unpredictable rhymes. His best-selling classics include A Pizza the Size of the Sun (1996) and The New Kid on the Block (1984). His latest books are In Aunt Giraffe's Green Garden and The Wizard, both published in 2007 by Greenwillow/HarperCollins. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Kevin Prufer is the author of three books of poetry, including Fallen From a Chariot (2005). He is also editor of The New Young American Poets (2000), Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing, and Dark Horses: Poets on Overlooked Poems (University of Illinois, 2007) with Joy Katz. A recipient of three Pushcart prizes and a 2007 NEA fellowship, he lives in Missouri.
Charles Simic, recently appointed 15th U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, will begin his term this fall. The author of 18 books of poetry, Simic is also an essayist, translator, and editor. His work has been recognized with several awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 for his book of prose poems The World Doesn't End, the Griffin Prize in 2005 for Selected Poems: 1963-2003, and the 2007 Wallace Stevens Award for Mastery in the Art of Poetry from the Academy of American Poets. His most recent poetry volume is My Noiseless Entourage (2005). He lives in Strafford, New Hampshire, and is professor emeritus of creative writing and literature at the University of New Hampshire, where he has taught for 34 years.
Jon Stallworthy was educated at Rugby, the Royal West African Frontier Force, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry. A Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Literature, he is acting president of Wolfson College. He has published seven books of poetry including Body Language (2005) and has edited several poetry collections. His biography of poet Wilfred Owen won the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the W. H. Smith Literary Award, and the E. M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Poet, biographer, and critic Anne Stevenson, was born in England and educated in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After graduating with honors from Michigan, she returned to Great Britain where she has lived most of her life. The author of more than 15 collections of poetry, she is the inaugural winner of Britain's prestigious literary prize, the Northern Rock Foundation Writer's Award (2002). She also has published a biography of Sylvia Plath (1989), a book of essays titled Between the Iceberg and the Ship (1998) and two critical studies of Elizabeth Bishop's work. Her latest book of poetry is Stone Milk (Bloodaxe, 2007).
Diane Thiel is the author of six books of poetry, including Echolocations (2000), winner of the Nicholas Roerich Prize. She also has published nonfiction and creative writing pedagogy, including Crossroads and Open Roads (Longman, 2005). Her translation of Alexis Stamatis's novel, American Fugue, received a 2007 NEA International Literature Award, and her work appears in many journals including Poetry, Best American Poetry 1999, The Sewanee Review, and more than 30 major anthologies. A Fulbright Scholar, Thiel is a recipient of the Robert Frost and Robinson Jeffers Awards. She is an associate professor at the University of New Mexico.
Kevin Young is the author of five poetry collections including For the Confederate Dead (Knopf, 2007). His first book, Most Way Home, was selected for the National Poetry Series by Lucille Clifton, and later won the Zacharis First Book Prize from Ploughshares. He is also the recipient of the Paterson Poetry Prize for Jelly Roll, which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Young's poetry and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Callaloo, and many other journals. He is also editor of several collections including the anthology, Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers and the Everyman's Library Pocket Poet anthologies titled Blues Poems and Jazz Poems. The Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University, Young lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts -- both new and established -- bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov.
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. For more information on the Poetry Foundation, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.
Presented by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Poetry Out Loud invites the aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. For more information on Poetry Out Loud, please visit www.poetryoutloud.org.
Return to News Index
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency