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April 5, 2012

Poetry Center Founder Annie Boutelle to Read
From Her New Collection

1NORTHAMPTON, Mass.— Annie Boutelle, founder of the Poetry Center at Smith College, will read from her latest collection at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

This event celebrates the recent publication of Boutelle’s third book of poems, “This Caravaggio,” and marks her retirement after nearly three decades as a faculty member in the Smith College Department of English Language and Literature.

A finely chiseled and electrifying portrait of the extraordinary famous Italian painter, “This Caravaggio” finds its muse in his art and life. The poems “engage the spirit, the life, the art… in an amazing act of identity,” according to Gerald Stern, former Poet Laureate of New Jersey, and they are as “sensual, ambivalent, shocking as Caravaggio was.”

Two previous poetry collections by Boutelle were both published in 2005. “Becoming Bone” sought to recover the inner life of Celia Thaxter, one of 19th-century America’s most popular poets. “Nest of Thistles,” winner of the 2005 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize, is in part an autobiographical exploration of Boutelle’s childhood in Scotland. Irish poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill admired the book’s “powerful resonance, a quivering presence like a Highland landscape seen through a summer heat haze.”

Born and raised in Scotland, Boutelle earned a master’s degree at the University of St. Andrews and doctorate at New York University. She is the author of “Thistle And Rose: A Study of Hugh MacDiarmid's Poetry” and numerous essays on scholarly and popular topics, and her poems have appeared widely in journals, including the Georgia Review, Green Mountains Review, the Hudson Review, Nimrod and Poetry.

In 1996, the Poetry Center was formed when Boutelle proposed a program that would bring distinguished poets to Smith. When, in 2009, she was appointed Grace Hazard Conkling Poet-in-Residence, Boutelle stepped down from serving as chair of the Poetry Center Committee. After her retirement, she will continue to guide the center’s efforts to secure full and stable funding.

The reading will be followed by a book signing. For more information, contact Jennifer Blackburn in the Poetry Center office at (413) 585-4891.

For disability access information or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.


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

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190

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