April 16, 2004
CUA Hosts 2 Noted Poets at April 20 Reading
Distinguished poets Mary Jo Salter and Wyatt Prunty, who have been recognized for their New Formalism poetry, will read their work at Catholic University’s Spring Poetry Reading on Tuesday, April 20.
The two poets also will sign copies of their books at the reading, which is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. at CUA’s Life Cycle Institute Auditorium. The writing of Prunty and Salter embodies the best of New Formalism poetry, which “is difficult to achieve, but once achieved, produces a poetry that is powerfully integrated. The image is reinforced by the form of the poem itself,” says writer A.G. Harmon, CUA lecturer in English and law.
In a 2001 Washington Post article, poet Rita Dove described Salter as “an exemplar of the New Formalism, a term coined to describe a community of young poets dedicated to infusing formal verse with a new energy and suppleness …” In the article Dove — U.S. poet laureate from 1993 to 1995 — noted the “elegant control” of Salter’s writing.
Salter, the Emily Dickinson Senior Lecturer in the Humanities at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and the author of five collections of poems, is expected to read from “Sunday Skaters,” which was nominated in 1994 for the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as “A Kiss in Space,” published in 1999, and “Open Shutters,” published in 2003.
In addition, she is the author of “Henry Purcell in Japan,” published in 1985; “Unfinished Painting,” the 1989 Lamont Selection for the year's most distinguished second volume of poetry; and a children's book, “The Moon Comes Home,” which came out in 1989.
Salter is also co-editor of “The Norton Anthology of Poetry” and has received numerous awards, including a year in France on an Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship awarded by the Academy of American Poets. Currently at work on a new, fifth edition of “The Norton Anthology of Poetry” to be published in December, Salter regularly teaches courses in composition, verse writing, poetry criticism and modern poetry.
Prunty, the Carlton Professor of English at Sewanee, The University of the South, and the author of six collections of poetry, is expected to read from his most recent book, “Unarmed and Dangerous: New and Selected Poems,” which appeared in 2000. “[Wyatt Prunty] has an exquisite hold on life,” according to a New York Times Book Review notice. “And in “Unarmed and Dangerous” he displays an inherent understanding of the fact that comedy and tragedy, both on the page and off, coexist more often than not."
Founder and director of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Prunty also edits the Sewanee Writers’ Series published by Overlook Press. He has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” discussing the role of poetry in society. His work has appeared in numerous publications nationwide and abroad, including PN Review, The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The New Criterion, The Southern Review and The Yale Review.
His books include “The Times Between,” 1982; “What Women Know, What Men Believe,” 1986; “Balance as Belief,” 1989; “The Run of the House,” 1993; and “Since the Noon Mail Stopped,” 1997, all published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Oxford University Press published his critical work on contemporary poetry, “Fallen from the Symboled World: Precedents for the New Formalism,” in 1990.
He recently received a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
The reading is free and open to the public.
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