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Posts Tagged ‘James H. Billington’

W.S. Merwin Appointed Poet Laureate

merwin.jpgThe Librarian of Congress has appointed W.S. Merwin as the 17th Poet Laureate of the United States.

Merwin (pictured, via) has written for the last 60 years, winning the 2005 National Book Award and two Pulitzer Prizes. Currently, he is published by Copper Canyon Press. Last year the prestigious post was held by Kay Ryan, and other laureates have included Louise Gluck, Billy Collins, Robert Pinsky, and Rita Dove.

The Poetry Foundation has an excellent selection of his work. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington had this statement: “WMerwin is universally regarded as a premier figure in the literary world … His poems are often profound and, at the same time, accessible to a vast audience.”

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Simic Named New Poet Laureate

The New York Times’ Motoko Rich reports that Charles Simic is to be named the country’s 15th poet laureate by the Librarian of Congress today. He succeeds Donald Hall, a fellow New Englander, who has been poet laureate for the past year. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Simic, a native of Yugoslavia, emigrated to the US at the age of sixteen and started writing poetry in English only a few years after learning the language. He has published more than 20 volumes of poetry, as well as essay collections, translations and a memoir.

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, will announce Simic’s appointment. Billington said he chose Simic from a short list of 15 poets because of “the rather stunning and original quality of his poetry,” adding: “He’s very hard to describe, and that’s a great tribute to him. His poems have a sequence that you encounter in dreams, and therefore they have a reality that does not correspond to the reality that we perceive with our eyes and ears.”

Library of Congress Creates Ambassador to Young People’s Literature

The Library of Congress announced last week that, through its Center for the Book, it will create the post of National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Appointed for a two-year term by the Librarian of Congress, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature will speak to the importance of fiction and non-fiction books in children’s lives. Selected for extraordinary contributions to the world of books for young people, the National Ambassador will encourage the appreciation of young people’s literature throughout the United States through both personal and media appearances.

“The Ambassador will be an award-winning author or illustrator whose position will acknowledge ­at the national level ­the importance of exceptional authors and illustrators in creating the readers of tomorrow,” said James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress. The appointment of the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature will be announced in January 2008.