Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
News Release

February 10, 2004

Poet, Priest and Peace Activist Daniel Berrigan to Read at Smith College

Editor's note: For a photo of Berrigan, call (413) 585-2190 or e-mail

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Smith College will host poet, priest and peace activist Daniel Berrigan for a poetry reading at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Helen Hills Hills Chapel. At 5:30 p.m. in the same location, Fr. Berrigan will celebrate Mass. The reading is free and open to the public, and all are welcome to join Fr. Berrigan for the Mass following. For more information, call (413) 585-2750.

Berrigan's considerable literary achievements are often overlooked in the context of his heroic life. A Jesuit priest, he is best known as a tireless activist for peace and social justice and one of the major icons of the Catholic left. Berrigan has been arrested hundreds of times for his acts of civil disobedience. In 1967, he was sentenced to three years in prison with his brother Phillip for destroying draft files with homemade napalm in protest of the Vietnam War, and was active in the Plowshares raids against General Electric's production of nuclear weapons. He teaches at Fordham University and lives in New York City in a community of other Jesuit priests.

Berrigan has authored over 50 books of poetry, protest, biblical interpretation, prison journals and a play, "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine," which dramatized the events surrounding his Vietnam protests and garnered a Tony Award. "Time Without Number" was nominated for a National Book Award and won the 1957 Lamont Poetry Prize. Berrigan's most recent books include "And the Risen Bread," an ample retrospective collection of poetry released in 1998, and in 2002 "Wisdom: The Feminine Face of God," which discusses the Wisdom of Solomon in terms of contemporary culture.

Just as Berrigan bravely lives a life of dissent in the public eye, his poetry takes a similarly daring plunge, unflinchingly revealing the interior sides of his public battles. A profound faith is evident in his poetic meditations on Scripture, yet he struggles openly with doubt and despair. Berrigan meets the Gospel on a deeply personal plane, speaking to John the Baptist as a friend and brother and writing Lazarus monologues never voiced in the pages of the Bible. While his integrity and faith can seem saintly, Berrigan's true poetic gift is devotion to the human. He treats his own weaknesses with the same honesty and compassion with which he faces the world. The candor, simplicity and decency that distinguish his life also mark his poetry as a gift of astonishing personal and moral generosity.


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

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

Smith in the News

News Releases

Contact Us

DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z