National Endowment for the Arts Presents Sixth Annual Poetry Pavilion at the National Book Festival
Participating writers include new U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan
September 18, 2008
Washington, DC -- The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will host the sixth annual Poetry Pavilion from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, on September 27, 2008. The pavilion features readings and book signings by nine poets from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, including newly appointed U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan. Hosted by the Library of Congress and Mrs. Laura Bush, the National Book Festival will be held on the National Mall between 4th and 7th streets. All events are free and open to the public.
"Restoring literature to its rightful place in U.S. cultural life continues to be one of the NEA's priorities. The NEA is proud to host the Poetry Pavilion each year," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "I am also particularly excited to present Kay Ryan -- a very fine poet and a fellow Californian -- as the new U.S. Poet Laureate."
Chairman Gioia also will introduce recitations by five Poetry Out Loud State Champions from Utah, Michigan, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. A joint project of the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is an acclaimed national poetry recitation contest for high school students now in its fourth year.
Kay Ryan was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate by Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington this fall, the 16th poet to hold the post since its creation in 1937. A California native, Ryan has published six books of poetry, including The Niagara River. Her work also has appeared in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, and Paris Review. Ryan's awards include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2006, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Sponsored by the Embassy of Mexico, Mexican poet Elsa Cross also will read at the pavilion. Two of Cross's poems are featured in the NEA anthology Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico. The author of 20 books of poetry, Cross recently was honored with the Xavier Villurrutia Prize, Mexico's most prestigious poetry award. She will be joined by literary translator John Oliver Simon who will read English translations of her work.
The schedule of events for the Poetry Pavilion is:
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. For more information on the Poetry Foundation, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.
Presented by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Poetry Out Loud invites aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English classroom. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. For more information on Poetry Out Loud, please visit www.poetryoutloud.org.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency