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September 13, 2007

Smith College Poetry Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Editor's note: For a high-res digital image of Robert Hass, contact Marti Hobbes at (413) 585-2190.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—The Poetry Center will launch its 10th anniversary celebration with a series of events Oct. 2 and 3 including a reading by former United States Poet Laureate Robert Hass and the opening of an art exhibit. All of the events are free and open to the public.

Hass, the recipient of two National Book Critics Circle Awards and a MacArthur Fellowship, will read at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 2, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall.

Earlier that afternoon, at 4 p.m. in the Book Arts Gallery on the third floor of Neilson Library, Hass will attend the opening of “The Face of Poetry” exhibit of portraits by Smith alumna Margaretta K. Mitchell ’57. Mitchell’s book of the same name features her black-and-white images of poets—including Hass—alongside their poems.

The next day, at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 3, Mitchell will speak in the Neilson Library Browsing Room about her book, which was published last year by the University of California Press. The traveling exhibition of Mitchell’s portraits will be on display in the Book Arts Gallery until December 22.

Founded in 1997, the Poetry Center at Smith College—alma mater of celebrated poet Sylvia Plath ’55—has a mission to inspire students by bringing poets to campus. Students in the hundreds attend readings by poets of national and international stature, which also draw large community audiences. In addition, the Poetry Center performs outreach to schools and, last year, launched its first poetry prize for high school girls in Massachusetts.

In addition to the Poetry Center, these two days of events are supported by the Friends of the Smith College Libraries and the Mortimer Rare Book Room.

About Robert Hass             

Written with rigorous intellect and deep care, Hass’ poetry concerns itself with what it means to be alive in the world.  His first poetry collection, “Field Guide,” was selected by Stanley Kunitz for the Yale Younger Poets Series in 1973.

Hass has since published three additional books of poetry, a book of essays on poetry, titled “Twentieth Century Pleasures,” and has translated the poems of Czeslaw Milosz, as well as Japanese haiku.  In addition, he edited “Poet’s Choice: Poems for Everyday Life and the selected poems of Tomas Tranströmer.

In a review of Hass’ work, the Boston Globe once noted that Hass possesses all the qualities of a major poet: “intelligence, depth, musicality, sweep, intimacy, humor, observation, learning and, above all, compassion.”

While serving as the country’s Poet Laureate from 1995-97, Hass traveled the country to speak on poetry, literacy and the environment, bringing a new range of responsibilities and opportunities to the office.  His deep commitment to environmental issues led him to found River of Words (ROW), an organization that promotes environmental and arts education in affiliation with the Library of Congress Center for the Book. A native of San Francisco, Hass lives in California and teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. 

About Smith College

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. By linking the power of the liberal arts to excellence in research and scholarship, Smith is developing leaders for society’s challenges.  Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country, enrolling 2,800 students from nearly every state and 61 other countries.

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

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

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