FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (11/97)
SHREVEPORT, LA -- The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Anthony Hecht will receive the eighth annual John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence and read from his work at Centenary College on Tuesday, Nov. 18. The presentation will take place at 7 p.m. in the South Dining Hall, Bynum Commons, on the Centenary campus. Sponsored by the Student Government Association and the English Department, the event is free and open to the public.
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Hecht was awarded the 1997 Tanning Prize, a $100,000 award, by the Academy of American Poets. The prize recognizes "outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry."
The author of six volumes of poetry, Hecht was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Hard Hours, his second book of poems, in 1968. In 1990 his Collected Earlier Poems brought together in one volume a selection from his first book, A Summoning of Stones (1954), and the entire contents of The Hard Hours and two later volumes: Millions of Strange Shadows (1977) and The Venetian Vespers (1979). The appearance of this omnibus coincided with the publication of Hecht's fifth book of poems, The Transparent Man. His most recent volume, Flight Among the Tombs, appeared last year from Knopf.
Hecht is also the author of three books of criticism, including a major study of the work of 20th-century English poet W.H. Auden, The Hidden Law, from Harvard University Press in 1993. In 1975 he translated, with the classicist Helen Bacon, the play Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus.
In preparation for Hecht's visit to Centenary, David Havird, an associate professor of English, will give a talk on Hecht's poetry at a convocation on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 11:10 a.m. in Kilpatrick Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Born in 1923 in New York City, Hecht was educated at Bard College and Columbia University. He taught for many years at the University of Rochester before joining the faculty at Georgetown University. His numerous honors and awards include an appointment as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress (now the Poet Laureate) and the Bollingen Prize, the most prestigious poetry prize in the US. He currently lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, who will accompany him to Shreveport.
Previous recipients of the Corrington Award have been Eudora Welty, Ernest J. Gaines, James Dickey, Miller Williams, Lee Smith, Paul Auster, and Elizabeth Spencer.
The Corrington Award is named for John William Corrington, a Centenary alumnus and author of the novella "Decoration Da" (published in All My Trials by the University of Arkansas Press in 1987), who died in 1988. The award takes the form of a bronze medal designed by the internationally acclaimed Louisiana sculptor Clyde Connell.
A unique feature of the award is that work by the recipient serves as a text in all first-year English classes. This semester, students in these classes and several other courses at Centenary are reading Hecht's Collected Earlier Poems.
For further information, contact David Havird, Department of English, 318-869-5085 or 318-869-5254.
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