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Renowned poet to host creative fundraiser for Katrina victims

The Creative Writing Program at Lehigh will host a reading and discussion on the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe by poet, essayist, and activist Adrienne Rich at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Packard Auditorium.

The talk will also serve as a fundraiser for victims of the hurricane. Representatives from the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Salvation Army will be on hand to accept monetary donations for the national hurricane relief effort.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the English department, the Lehigh Women's Center, the American Studies Program, the Visiting Lecturer's Committee, the Chaplain's Office, the Humanities Center, the Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Jewish Studies, and the Women's Studies Program.

Rich, the recipient of the Yale Younger Poets Award in 1951 at the age of 21, has written prolifically in the ensuing years, drawing on a strong, distinctive voice. Her poetry, she says, seeks to create a dialectical relationship between "the personal, or lyric voice, and the so-called political really, the voice of the individual speaking not just to herself, or to a beloved friend, but to and from a collective, a social realm."

The author of more than 15 volumes of poetry and four books of non-fiction prose, Rich’s poetry and prose are taught in literature, creative writing, gender and gay studies
courses across the country and abroad. Her 2004 collection of poems, The School Among the Ruins, earned her the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was chosen as one of Library Journal's Best Poetry picks of 2004.

Rich is also the recipient of the 1999 Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been distinguished by an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Common Wealth Award in Literature, the National Book Award, the 1996 Tanning Award for Mastery in the Art of Poetry (The Wallace Stevens Award), and the MacArthur Fellowship. In 2003, she was awarded the Bollingen Prize for Poetry.

Seats for the talk may be reserved in advance by making a donation in person at the Salvation Army offices at 521 Pembroke Road, Bethlehem. For more information about Rich’s talk, or the fundraiser for hurricane victims, please e-mail Bob Watts or call (610)758-5734.

--Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2005

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