The Library of Congress' Poetry and Literature Center is celebrating literary birthdays, with contemporary writers reading from works and discussing Edna St. Vincent Millay Feb. 22, and later Robert Frost, Robert Penn Warren, Katherine Anne Porter, Walt Whitman, and Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Here is a list of the free birthday events, participants, and accompanying exhibits from the Library's collections:
All the annual series' events will be at noon at the Library of Congress' Whittall Pavilion, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., unless otherwise noted.
- Edna St. Vincent Millay, Friday, Feb. 22
Poets Claudia Emerson and Alicia Ostriker will read from Millay's work, and the Library's Prints and Photographs Division will display materials. Millay was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1923, for "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver: A Few Figs from Thistles: Eight Sonnets in American Poetry, 1922. A Miscellany".
- Robert Frost, Tuesday, March 26
Poets Dana Gioia and Eric Pankey will read from Frost's work, and the Manuscript Division will present materials from the Robert Frost collection. He won four poetry Pulitzers, and numerous other awards.
- Robert Penn Warren, Wednesday, April 24
Novelist Alan Cheuse and poet Maurice Manning will read from Warren's work, and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division will present materials from the Robert Penn Warren collection. Warren won three Pulitzer Prizes: for his novel "All the King's Men" in 1947, and two for Poetry, in 1979 for "Now and Then", and in 1958 for "Promises: Poems 1954-1956".
- Katherine Anne Porter, Wednesday, May 15
Novelists Mary Gaitskill and Janet Peery will read from Porter's work, and the Manuscript Division will present materials from the Porter collection. She won the 1966 Pulitzer for "Collected Stories", among other awards.
- Walt Whitman, Friday, May 31
Poets Mark Doty and Sally Keith will read from Whitman's work, and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division will present materials from the Whitman collection.
- Paul Laurence Dunbar, Thursday, June 27
Poets Al Young and Holly Bass will read from Dunbar's work, and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division will present materials from the Dunbar collection. One of the first African-American poets to gain national recognition, Dunbar was born in 1872 to freed slaves. He lived only to age 33.
This event will take place in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C.
The Library's Rare Book and Special Collections Division holds more than 800,000 books, posters, photographs, and other materials, in 100 collections -- plus medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.
The Manuscript Division holds more than 66 million items, including the papers of 23 Presidents, from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge.
The Prints and Photographs Division includes some 14.4 million photo, drawings, and prints from the 15th century to the 21st century.
The Poetry and Literature Center fosters and enhances the public’s appreciation of literature through the endowed poetry chair (U.S. Poet Laureate), and poetry, fiction and drama readings, performances, and other events.
So let's celebrate some of America's finest poets and authors, from the past and present.
As Frost said, "Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat."
For more info: Contact Rob Casper at the Library of Congress, 202-707-5394, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Library's buildings: Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., and James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, www.loc.gov/rr/rarebook/. Manuscript Division, www.loc.gov/rr/mss/. Prints and Photographs Division, www.loc.gov/rr/print/. Poetry and Literature Center, www.loc.gov/poetry/.