Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM


Gwendolyn Brooks has been a leading force in American letters for decades. Her poetry, writes Adrienne Rich, "holds up a mirror to the American experience entire, its dreams, self-delusions and nightmares. Her voice is inimitable."

Born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1917, she was the first Black writer to win the Pulitzer Prize (1950 for Annie Allen). Author of more than twenty books of poetry and recipient of many honors, including the Frost Medal and the Academy of American Poets' Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement, Brooks is writer-in-residence at Chicago State University and has served since 1969 as the Poet Laureate of Illinois.


Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Stephen Dobyns has published twenty-one works of fiction, a book of essays on poetry (Best Words, Best Order), and ten books of poems. His most recent, Pallbearers Envying the One Who Rides, has been called "a cycle of medieval morality poems for a new Dark Age."

Dobyns' poems have won many awards and prizes, his novels have been translated into some fifteen languages, and two of them have been made into films. Whether working in prose or poetry, he is provocative and deeply curious, a story-teller of great playfulness, caustic wit, and heartfelt tenderness. Dobyns has taught at many colleges and universities; currently he lives outside Boston and is a contributing writer for the San Diego Reader.


Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Author of numerous collections of poetry, including The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems (winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize), The Errancy (named by the New York Times as one of the "Notable Books of 1997") and, most recently, Swarm, Jorie Graham is celebrated for her lyrical, sensuous writing and her intensely personal style.

"She provides," writes The Nation, "all the satisfactions we expect from poetry-aural beauty, emotional weight-along with an intellectual rigor we don't expect." Graham was recently appointed Boylston Professor at Harvard University and divides her time between Iowa and Massachusetts.




Neilson Browsing Room
7:30 PM


Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and educated at the Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock, Constance Merritt holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska, in Lincoln, where she currently resides.

Merritt is the recipient of two Pushcart Prize nominations and an Academy of American Poets College Prize. Her first collection of poems, A Protocol for Touch, won the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry and was published this year. Judge Eleanor Wilner called her "a poet to defeat categories, to oppose 'the tyranny of names' with a poetry that sets its own terms of encounter...tender and austere, formal and intimate at once."


Poet, translator, scholar and activist Eleanor Wilner has received many honors, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1991-1996). Her fifth and most recent collection, Reversing the Spell: New and Selected Poems, is a remarkable rewriting of the myths of life and art by one of the most vital and original voices in American poetry. Wilner's work is far-ranging and widely anthologized, and she has participated in a number of multi-disciplinary collaborations in dance and theater.

On the faculty of the MFA Program at Warren Wilson College since 1989, Wilner makes her home in Philadelphia, though she has been Visiting Writer in Hawaii, Iowa, and Japan, and is this year's Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence here at Smith College.




Davis Ballroom
7:30 PM


Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Joy Harjo studied at the University of New Mexico and received an MFA from the University of Iowa. Her rich multicultural lineage--Harjo's mother was part Cherokee, French, and Irish; her father was Creek--figures in her poetry, which explores the relationship between past and present, humans in their communities, and the many aspects of the self.

A saxophonist with the jazz band Poetic Justice, whose latest CD is entitled " Letter from the End of the 21st Century," her books include She Had Some Horses (1983), In Mad Love and War (1990), The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1996), and, released early this year, A Map to the Next World: Poems and Tales. Harjo received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writer's Circle of the Americas and lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.



Neilson Browsing Room
7:30 PM


Educated at Harvard and at Cambridge University, Mary Jo Salter is celebrated for her inventive uses of traditional forms and has received many awards, including a recent year in France on an Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship.

Salter is author of four collections, Henry Purcell in Japan (1985), Unfinished Painting (the 1989 Lamont Selection for the year’s most distinguished second volume of poetry), Sunday Skaters (1994), and A Kiss in Space (1999), as well as a children’s book, The Moon Comes Home (1989). Carolyn Kizer wrote of A Kiss in Space: “These are poems of breath-taking elegance: in formal control, in intellectual subtlety, in learning lightly displayed.”

An editor of The Norton Anthology of Poetry and an Emily Dickinson Lecturer in Humanities at Mount Holyoke College, Salter lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts, with her husband, the writer Brad Leithauser, and their two daughters.


Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM


Tracie Morris is at the forefront of the burgeoning international spoken word scene. After making a name for herself in the early 1990’s at the Nuyorican Poets Café (the spoken-word mecca of New York) — in 1993 she was named champion of both the Nuyorican Grand Slam and the National Haiku Slam — Morris won acclaim for her collaborations with other artists, particularly jazz musicians such as Donald Byrd and Vernon Reid.

Morris wrote the lyrics for choreographer Ralph Lemon’s epic “Geography,” (Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1999) and is currently at work on a commissioned project for The Kitchen. Her tough and sassy hip-hop rhymes have been featured in many anthologies, as well as on radio and television, and she has toured extensively here and abroad. The Brooklyn native was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, New Faces/New Voices Fellowship, and a Franklin Furnace Artist in Exile grant, and has published two collections of poems, Chap-T-her Won and Intermission.

This event is presented in collaboration with New WORLD Theater of the University of Massachusetts.



Born in England and reared in the Irish-speaking areas of West Kerry and in Tipperary, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill is praised as one of the most gifted living poets in the Irish language tradition. All four of her collections of poems in Irish have won the Sein Ó Rkordiin Award. “Shape-shifting, from Gaelic myth. . . to some less romantic or quirkier emblem of the present, is a constant resource of Ní Dhomhnaill’s poetry; and it’s one of the ways she has rescued the Irish language from its association with the pedantries of the past.” (Times Literary Supplement)

Ní Dhomhnaill is three-time winner of the Arts Council Prize for Poetry and recipient of the Butler Award from the Irish American Cultural Institution. Her irreverent, exuberant poems are translated into English by such distinguished poets as Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Derek Mahon, and Medbh McGuckian, and published here in bilingual editions: The Pharoah’s Daughter, The Astrakhan Cloak, and The Water Horse.

Ní Dhomhnaill has held the Burns Chair of Irish Studies at Boston College and is the contemporary poetry editor of the Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing. One of her current projects is the translation from Turkish to Irish of a book-length poem by Nazim Hikmet. Ní Dhomhnaill, who lives in Dublin, spent several years in Turkey and returns there regularly with her Turkish husband and four children.

John M. Greene Hall
7:30 PM


Lawrence Ferlinghetti helped to spark the San Francisco literary renaissance of the 1950’s and the subsequent Beat movement in American poetry, and at 82 he’s still going strong.

Poet, novelist, playwright, translator, publisher, essayist, activist, and painter, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s life and writing stand as models of the existentially authentic and engaged. “Besides molding an image of the poet in the world, [he] became the most important force in developing and publicizing antiestablishment poetics” (Dictionary of Literary Biography). Ferlinghetti’s fledgling publishing venture, City Lights Pocket Books, became world-famous during the 1957 court battle that ensued when Allen Ginsberg’s first book, Howl, was impounded for obscenity. And long before the advent of café bookstores, Ferlinghetti co-founded the City Lights Book Shop as “about the only place around where you could go in, sit down, and read books without being pestered to buy something.”



Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM


Galway Kinnell has been a major figure in American poetry for three decades. His Selected Poems (1982) was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the National Book Award, and individual volumes such as Body Rags, The Book of Nightmares, Mortal Acts, Mortal Words, and Imperfect Thirst have won him an large and passionate following. “His point,” writes Publishers Weekly, “seems not to describe or illustrate facts of nature, human or inhuman, but to summon their essence, with lyric violence or tenderness, and confirm a kinship.”

In addition to his many books of poetry, a novel, a collection of interviews, and a children’s book, Kinnell edited The Essential Whitman and has published translations of works by Yves Bonnefoy, Francois Villon, and, most recently, Rainer Maria Rilke.

Kinnell was born in Rhode Island and educated at Princeton (where he roomed with W. S. Merwin). Awarded fellowships from the MacArthur and Guggenheim Foundations and the Medal of Merit of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, Kinnell has held lectureships abroad, in France and Iran, and taught widely in the U.S. Currrently the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University, he lives in New York City and in Vermont, where he was State Poet from 1989-1993.



Neilson Browsing Room
4:30 PM


Renowned Argentinian poet Diana Bellessi has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Fundación Antorchas. In addition to her essays and many volumes of poems, she has published two collections of contemporary North American women poets in translation. The Twins, The Dream/Las Gemelas, El Sueno (Arte Publico, 1996) presents Bellessi and Ursula LeGuin translating each other’s poems as a means of bridging geographical distances and fostering a cross-cultural dialog. Some of the poems in this volume reflect Bellessi’s experiences in the early 1970’s traveling the Americas on foot.

These days, she teaches private writing workshops in Buenos Aires and travels by air to lecture and participate in literary conferences on both American continents. Bellessi is Latin American Studies Visiting Scholar at Smith for the month of April, 2001.

Presented in collaboration with the Latin American Studies Program and the Department of Spanish & Portuguese.


Distinguished poet and translator David Ferry is well known for his brilliant translations of the Gilgamesh epic, Virgil’s eclogues, and Horace’s odes. His most recent collection, Of No Country I Know: New & Selected Poems and Translations won the Bingham Poetry Prize and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Ferry’s other honors include an Ingram Merrill Award for Poetry and Translation and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Academy of American Poets.

Professor Emeritus at Wellesley College, Ferry will be visiting lecturer in creative writing at Boston University in the spring of 2001. He has recently completed a new translation of the Epistles of Horace.

Presented in collaboration with the Department of English Language & Literature.



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