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October 2, 2006

Poet Ellen Doré Watson to Read at Smith

Editor's note: For a 300-dpi image of Ellen Dore Watson, e-mail

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Smith College will present poet and faculty member Ellen Doré Watson—named by Library Journal one of the “24 Poets for the 21st Century”at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in Stoddard Hall Auditorium. The event is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible.

The Bloomsbury Review called Watson’s first book, “We Live in Bodies,” “at once irresistibly funny, moving, lighthearted and grave.” Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky pronounced her “an eloquent, passionate poet—interrogative, tender, wildly inventive, with the wonder of childhood and a grown woman’s comic sense.”

The carefully honed lyrics of her newest collection, “This Sharpening,” map the unraveling of a marriage and the persistence of longing. Her vivid, troubled poems of love and loss reveal a raw world in which the personal has always been the political, and are propelled by headlong structure, syntactically surprising pace and deeply embedded music.

Watson’s honors include the New York/New England Award for her second volume, “Ladder Music”; a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Grant; the Bullis-Kizer Prize from Poetry Northwest; a Rona Jaffe Writers Award; and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Grant. Individual poems have appeared in such literary publications as The American Poetry Review, Tin House and The New Yorker, among many others. 

Watson has also translated more than a dozen books from the Portuguese—including “The Alphabet in the Park,” selected poems of Brazilian Adélia Prado. She is currently working on a second collection by Prado, as well as co-translating with novelist Saadi Simawe, contemporary Iraqi poems, some of which have appeared in Iraqi Poetry Today.

Poetry and translation editor of The Massachusetts Review, Watson leads local writing workshops, teaches in the English department at Smith and has directed Smith’s Poetry Center since 1999.

Watson’s reading is supported by the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute as part of its "Marriage and Divorce" project. The reading will be followed by a book sale and signing. For further information, call Cindy Furtek in the Poetry Center office at (413) 585-4891 or Watson at (413) 585-3368.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
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