U.S. Poet Laureate to Speak April 1

TAMPA, Fla. (March 6, 2009) – The newest U. S. Poet Laureate, Kay Ryan, opens the University of South Florida Humanities Institute celebration of National Poetry Month April 1.  She will read and discuss her poetry at 7 p.m. in Traditions Hall, at the Gibbons Alumni Center.   She will be followed by poets Dana Levin, Kimberly Johnson, Erica Bernheim, and Robyn Schiff throughout the rest of the month, all of whom will meet informally with students and faculty during their visits.  The poetry readings and discussions are free and open to the public.


“More and more people are waking up to the beauty, the power, and the value of poetry,” said Humanities Institute Director William Scheuerle.  “This month is especially rich in opportunities to meet, talk with and be inspired by some of the most acclaimed poets in the country.”


Kay Ryan – April 1 – 7 p.m. – Gibbons Alumni Center, Traditions Hall

Ryan, 16th Poet Laure­ate Consultant in Poetry, has published six collections of poetry, including Flamingo Watching (1994), a finalist for both the Lamont Poetry Selection and the Lenore Marshall Prize; Elephant Rocks (1996), Say Uncle (2000) and The Niagara River (2005).  She has won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Union League Poetry Prize, the Maurice English Poetry Award, and four Pushcart Prizes, while receiving fel­lowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Founda­tion. 


Dana Levin – April 7 – 6:30 p.m. – College of Education, TECO Room

Levin is visiting USF from the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico where she is chair of creative writing and literature and associate professor.  Her poetry collec­tion includes In the Surgical Theatre (1999) and Wedding Day (2005).  She is the recipi­ent of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award (2004), Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress (2004), the Whiting Writers’ Award (2005), and a Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry (2007).  


Kimberly JohnsonApril 15 – 6:30 p.m. – Russell M. Cooper Hall, Room 459 

 Johnson, from Brigham Young University, is making a return visit after her 2006 appearance at USF.  She is the author of Leviathan With a Hook (2002), the recently published A Metaphorical God (2008), and a translation of Virgil’s Georgics (Penguin Classics, 2009).  Her work has ap­peared recently in The New Yorker, Slate, The Iowa Review, and the Yale Review, and she has received prizes from the Merton Foundation and the Utah Arts Council and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. 


Erica Bernheim and Robyn Schiff – April 22 – 3 p.m. – USF Tampa Library – Grace Allen Room

Bernheim, from Florida Southern College and Schiff, from the University of Iowa, will end the month-long poetry celebration with readings and a discussion. 


Bernheim has published the chapbook Between the Room and the City (2006) and poetry in many journals, including The Black Warrior Review, Bridge, The Canary, and Volt.  Schiff, director of the undergraduate creative writ­ing program at the Univer­sity of Iowa, has published two books of poetry, Worth (2005), winner of an award from the Greenwall Fund (American Academy Poets) and Revolver (2008). 


The institute has brought two former U. S. Poet Laureates to USF:  Billy Collins and Louise Glück and last year presented the 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry, Natasha Trethewey. 


For more information about National Poetry Month visit www.poets.org/ and for more information about the poetry readings, call (813) 974-3657.


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.