Beall Poetry Fest displays poetic diversity at Baylor

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Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013 12:01 am | Updated: 3:00 pm, Thu Apr 4, 2013.

A month after bringing Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney to Baylor University, the Beall Poetry Festival continues to pull in a wide net, landing a Pulitzer Prize winner, notable poets from England and Australia, a literary critic and a prize-winning Southern poet.

“It’s the biggest festival we’ve had in a while,” festival director and Baylor English professor Richard Russell said.

The annual festival runs Thursday through Saturday with public poetry readings, a lecture and panel discussion. All but Saturday’s panel discussion will take place in the Hankamer School of Business’ Kaiser Auditorium. The discussion will be at Room 101, Carroll Science Hall.

Russell said some of this year’s readings were shifted to afternoons from evenings to make it easier for students to attend.

The writers featured at this year’s festival are:

n  Tracy K. Smith — A Princeton University faculty member who won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book “Life On Mars.” Her 2003 debut, “The Body’s Question,” won

the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for best first book by a black poet.

n  James Fenton — A former Oxford University professor of poetry, Fenton also has worked as a Vietnam War correspondent and reported from Cuba. The English poet won the 1994 Whitbread Prize for Poetry and a 2007 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

n  Les Murray — An Australian poet who grew up on a dairy farm and became a leading writer. Murray was a former editor of Poetry Australia, won a Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1998 and was named Officer of the Order of Australia in 1999 for his literary work.

n  Bobby C. Rogers — Writer-in-residence at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., Rogers draws on his Southern background for his work, which has won an Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and three Pushcart Prize nominations.

n  Henry Hart — A professor of English and Humanities at the College of William and Mary, Hart has won attention not only for his poetry, but his literary criticism, which includes a critically acclaimed biography of poet James Dickey. Hart will deliver the festival’s keynote lecture, “Poetry As Gift: Robert Frost and Seamus Heaney,” on Thursday night.

Russell said the poets’ backgrounds and work span a wide range of nationalities and culture.

The festival will sell broadsides, special printings of a poem, for each poet at $25 apiece after his or her reading.

Broadsides remaining from Heaney’s March 4 appearance also will be sold for $25.

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Beall Poetry Festival

All events at Hankamer School of Business’ Kaiser Auditorium unless noted

Thursday

3:30-4:30 p.m. — Bobby Rogers poetry reading

7-8 p.m. — Henry Hart, Virginia Beall Ball lecture, “Poetry As Gift”

Friday

3:30-4:30 p.m. — Tracy K. Smith poetry reading

7-8 p.m. — James Fenton poetry reading

Saturday

3:30-4:30 p.m. — Panel discussion with participants, Room 101, Carroll Science Building

7-8 p.m. — Les Murray poetry reading

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