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Rae Armantrout & John Irving
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 4:30 PM
McCosh Hall, Room 50


Steve Runk    
Director of Communications
Lewis Center for the Arts

(Princeton, NJ)  Poet Rae Armantrout and novelist/screenwriter John Irving will read from their works in McCosh Hall 50 at Princeton University on Wednesday, November 30 at 4:30 p.m. Student John Shakespear will also read from his work.  The reading, part of the Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series of the Program in Creative Writing at the Lewis Center for the Arts, is free and open to the public.

Rae Armantrout. Photo Credit: Rosanne Olson, courtesy of Wesleyan University Press
Photo Credit: Rosanne Olson,
courtesy of Wesleyan University

Armantrout received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and the 2009 National Book Critics’ Circle Award.  She was also recognized with a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, an award in poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and a California Arts Council Fellowship, and has twice received the Fund for Poetry Award.  Armantrout is currently Professor of Poetry and Poetics at the University of California, San Diego, where she has taught writing for over twenty years and was Writer in Residence at Bard College and at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. 

Armantrout has published numerous books of poetry, including: Versed (2009), which earned her the Pulitzer Prize; Next Life (2007), selected by the New York Times as one of the most notable books of 2007; Up to Speed (2004), a finalist for a  PEN Center USA Award in Poetry; Veil: New and Selected Poems (2001), also a finalist for the PEN Award; The Pretext (2001); Made to Seem (1995); and The Invention of Hunger (1979).

A contributor to the original LANGUAGE journal that gave rise to the appellate “language poets,” her work has been praised for syntax that borders on everyday speech while grappling with questions of deception and distortion in both language and consciousness. The late poet Robert Creeley has described her work as, “A quiet and enabling signature,” adding, “I don’t think there’s another poet writing who is so consummate in authority and yet so generous to her readers and company alike.”

Armantrout’s poetry has been widely anthologized, appearing in Language Poetries, (New Directions), In The American Tree (National Poetry Foundation), Postmodern American Poetry (Norton), Poems for the Millennium, Vol. 2 (University of California), American Women Poets of the 21st Century (Wesleyan), and several editions of Best American Poetry. She is also the author of a prose memoir, True, which was published by Atelos in 1998.

Armantrout will be introduced by Michael Dickman a poet and member of the faculty in the Lewis Center Program in Creative Writing.

John Irving by Everett Irving
Photo by Everett Irving

Irving is a best-selling novelist and screenwriter, widely recognized for his works that have been adapted to film, including The Hotel New Hampshire (1981) and The World According to Garp (1978), which won him the National Book Award for paperback fiction in 1980.  His screenplay of his novel, The Cider House Rules (1985), won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1999.  Other works that have received critical acclaim include The Water-Method Man (1972), The 158-Pound Marriage (1974), The Fourth Hand (2001), A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound (2004), Until I Find You (2005), and Last Night in Twisted River (2009).  His upcoming novel, In One Person, is to be released next year.

Fellow writer Peter Matthiessen says Irving’s work "has a sense of myth and time and weight and resonance. He's certainly not just 'a good plot man.'  He's probably the greatest storyteller of American literature today."

Irving will be introduced by Jeffrey Eugenides, professor of Creative Writing at the Lewis Center.

Student reader John Shakespear of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a senior in the Comparative Literature Department at Princeton.  He will read selections from his fiction thesis in progress.

The Lewis Center’s Program in Creative Writing is sponsoring this event as part of the ongoing Althea Ward Clark W’21 reading series, which provides an opportunity for students, as well as all in the greater Princeton region to hear and meet the best writers of contemporary poetry and fiction.  All readings are free and open to the public and take place on select Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. in venues on the University campus. Other upcoming readings include:

  • Creative Writing Program student reading on December 14, 2011 at 5:15 p.m. in the Chancellor Green Rotunda
  • James Richardson and Jonathan Franzen on February 8, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre
  • James Tate and Zadie Smith on March 28, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. in McCosh Hall 50

Photos Link:
Photo Caption:  PulitzerPrize-winning poet Rae Armantrout
Photo Credit: Rosanne Olson, courtesy of Wesleyan University Press
Photo Caption:  Academy Award-winning screenwriter and novelist John Irving
Photo Credit: Everett Irving

The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President Shirley M. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.

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