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Rita Dove and James Salter read at Berlind Theatre


Steve Runk    
Director of Communications
Lewis Center for the Arts

(Princeton, NJ)  Poet Rita Dove and novelist James Salter will read from their works at the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton, on Wednesday, October 19 at 4:30 p.m  The reading, part of  the Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series of the Program in Creative Writing of the Lewis Center for the Arts, is free and open to the public.

Rita Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States, the youngest poet ever to be elected to that honorary position, from 1993 to 1995.  She has received numerous literary honors, among them the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and, more recently, the 2003 Emily Couric Leadership Award, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, the 1997 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and the 1996 National Humanities Medal.  In 2006 she received the coveted Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service (together with Anderson Cooper, John Glenn, Mike Nichols and Queen Noor of Jordan).  She became a Chubb Fellow at Yale University in 2007 and in 2009 received the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal and the Premio Capri, the prestigious international Italian prize for poets.

Dove’s published works include the poetry collections The Yellow House on the Corner (1980),  Museum (1983), Thomas and Beulah (1986), Grace Notes (1989), Selected Poems (1993), Mother Love (1995), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), and American Smooth (2004).  She is also the author of a book of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985), the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992), essays under the title The Poet’s World (1995) and the play The Darker Face of the Earth, which had its world premiere in 1996 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was subsequently produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Royal National Theatre in London, and other theatres.  Seven for Luck, a song cycle for soprano and orchestra with music by John Williams, was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in 1998.  Her latest poetry collection, Sonata Mulattica, was published by W.W. Norton & Company in 2009.

In a review of Dove’s On the Bus with Rosa Parks, Princeton University Creative Writing Lecturer Brenda Shaughnessy noted in Publishers Weekly, "Dove is a master at transforming a public or historic element—re-envisioning a spectacle and unearthing the heartfelt, wildly original private thoughts such historic moments always contain."  Renee H. Shea in Women in the Arts says of Dove’s work, "Every line, every image, is a testament to her gift for language, her wide ranging and curious intellect, and her continuous research on life."

Dove is the editor of The Best of American Poetry 2000 and wrote a weekly column, “Poet’s Choice,” for The Washington Post.  She is the sole editor of The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, due to be released by Penguin Classics on October 25.

James Salter is a novelist, screenwriter, and short story writer.  Critic Robert Burke, writing in the Bloomsbury Review, called Salter “one of the best writers in this country,” and Publishers Weekly wrote he is “the author of some of the most esteemed fiction of the past three decades.”

Salter’s writing career began in 1956 with publication of the The Hunters, his first novel based on his more than one hundred combat missions during the Korean War.  A series of acclaimed novels followed, including The Art of Flesh (1961), Light Years (1975), Solo Faces (1979) and A Sport and a Pastime (1967), described by Reynolds Price in the New York Times Book Review “as nearly perfect as any American fiction I know.”

Salter’s subject is described as human desire in its many manifestations: erotic longing, jealousy, ambition, curiosity, obsession, the need to triumph, to achieve perfection, to experience life, to be loved, to merely belong.  Relationships between men and women often provide the setting for these studies of desire.

In 1989 Salter’s collection, Dusk and Other Stories, received the PEN/Faulkner Award. Ned Rorem, writing in the Washington Post, ranked Salter’s stories with the works of Flannery O’Connor, Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams, and John Cheever.  New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani said that Salter’s stories, “…can suggest in a single sentence, an individual’s entire history, the complex interplay of longing and fear, hope and need, that has brought about the present.”

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.(unless otherwise noted) in venues on the University campus.  Other upcoming readings include:

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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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