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Poet Frank Bidart to speak
at Wallace Stevens event
(March 30, 1999)

Award-winning poet Frank Bidart will read from his work and present awards to student poets at the University's 36th Annual Wallace Stevens Poetry Program April 7 and 8.

Sponsored by the Department of English with support from The Hartford and with assistance from The Hartford Friends of Wallace Stevens, the April 7 program will take place at 8 p.m. in the Konover Auditorium of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. The program on April 8 will be held at noon, in The Tower Suite at The Hartford, Hartford Plaza. Admission to both events is free.

During both programs, UConn students, winners of the Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest, will read their poems. In Hartford, a group of city high school students who are especially interested in poetry will be guests of the University and The Hartford.

Bidart is the author of five books of poetry: Golden State (1973), The Book of the Body (1977), The Sacrifice (1983), In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-90, and Desire (1997). He has been the recipient of many grants and awards, including The Theodore Roethke Award for Poetry, The Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, and The Rebekah Johnson Bobbit Prize for Poetry given by the Library of Congress.

Desire was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry in 1997 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and for the National Book Critics' Circle Award. Bidart's fellowships include two National Endowment for the Humanities Awards, as well as grants from the Ingram Merrill Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Bidart, a professor of English at Wellesley College, has held lectureships and residencies at Brandeis University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Riverside.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary member of the Poetry Board of the Folger Library, and the literary executor for the estate of Robert Lowell.

This year's winners of the Wallace Stevens Poetry contest are: first place, Robert Cyr, a sixth semester English major; in second place, Tracey Lander, also a sixth semester English major; the third place is shared by Joseph Lennon, a graduate student in English, and Robert Dunn, a graduate student in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology.

The poetry program began at UConn in 1964 with a gift from the Hartford Insurance Group, now The Hartford, to support cash awards and books of poetry as prizes to aspiring young poets and to bring a distinguished poet to the University of Connecticut.

Since that time, the program has brought to Storrs and Hartford poets including Robert Lowell, W.S. Merwin, June Jordan, Anne Sexton, Allen Ginsberg and Donald Hall.

The program honors the memory of Wallace Stevens, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who was an insurance executive at The Hartford for 38 years.

Sherry Fisher