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For immediate release: Nov. 24, 2004
Media contact: Patricia Allen, (609) 258-6108, pallen@princeton.edu

Oates, Muldoon to give reading from new anthology, Dec. 2

PRINCETON, N.J. -- National Book Award-winning novelist Joyce Carol Oates and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon will participate in a reading and concert celebrating the release of a new anthology on the American ballad at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, in the Stewart Film Theater, 185 Nassau St.

Titled "Death, Love, Liberty and the American Ballad," the event will present work from "The Rose and The Briar," (W.W. Norton & Co.), a collection of essays, stories, poems and cartoons edited by Sean Wilentz, the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History and chair of the Program in American Studies, and Greil Marcus, a rock critic and writer who has been a visiting professor at Princeton.

The book, which includes an accompanying original CD by Sony/Legacy, features the work of two dozen prominent writers, critics and musical performers who choose an American ballad and provide an original reinterpretation.

"This project began with a question: What does the American ballad tell us about America?" Wilentz said. "This concert and reading will be a chance to share a few of the answers with the Princeton community, home to several of the writers and artists involved -- and the place where the idea began to hatch, in conversations between myself and Greil Marcus."

Oates and Muldoon, who teach creative writing at the University, will be joined by Wilentz, who will read from his essay on the ballad, "Delia's Gone," and English Professor Nigel Smith, who will provide musical accompaniment.

Oates, the Roger S. Berlind '52 Professor in the Humanities, will read from her story, "Little Maggie: A Mystery," based on the bluegrass standard "Little Maggie." Muldoon, the Howard G.B. Clark '21 University Professor in the Humanities and chair of the Fund for Irish Studies, will offer a new lyric, "Blackwatertown." The piece is written to the tune of "The Streets of Laredo," which first saw the light of day in Ireland as "The Bard of Armagh." Muldoon and Smith, a literary scholar and critic, are members of the rock band Rackett, which performs in New York City.

Other contributors to the book include Sarah Vowell, R. Crumb, Luc Sante, Cecil Brown, Wendy Lesser, Stanley Crouch, John Rockwell, Paul Berman, John Langford of the Mekons and Anna Domino of Snakefarm. The companion CD consists of rare and vintage performances of most of the ballads in the book, including new recordings by John Mellencamp and The Handsome Family.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is being sponsored by the University's Council of the Humanities, Program in Creative Writing and Program in American Studies.

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