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WRITER: ALEX CAREY
CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: peter-alexander@uiowa.edu

Release: March 16, 2001

Former U.S. Poet Laureate and UI faculty member Robert Hass will read March 26

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Robert Hass, a former Poet Laureate of the United States, will read from his work at 8 p.m. Monday, March 26 in Room 101 of Biology Building East on the University of Iowa campus. The reading, which is sponsored by the UI Writers’ Workshop, is free and open to the public.

Hass was a visiting faculty member in the Writers’ Workshop in 1995 when he was selected U.S. Poet Laureate, a post he held from 1995 to 1997. He has won the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellowship and twice received the National Books Critic Circle Award. His first book, "Field Guide," earned the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 1973.

Hass’ other collections of poetry include "Praise," "Human Wishes" and "Sun Under Wood." He also wrote "Twentieth Century Pleasures," a book of essays on poetry. He has translated many of the works of Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz and is the editor of Thomas Transtromer’s "Selected Poems: 1954-1986" and "The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa."

"Reading a poem by Robert Hass is like stepping into the ocean when the temperature of the water is not much different from that of the air," Stanley Kunitz wrote in his foreword to Hass’ debut collection. "You scarcely know, until you feel the undertow tug at you, that you have entered into another element. Suddenly the deep is there, with its teeming life."

As U.S. Poet Laureate, Hass placed an emphasis on literacy and ecological awareness. He helped promote and organize Watershed, a weeklong gathering of writers and environmentalists designed to teach inner-city children about the nation’ s tradition of nature writing.

In addition to his time at the UI, Hass has taught at the State University of New York, Buffalo and St. Mary’s College. A professor of English at the University of California-Berkeley since 1989, Hass was named Educator of the Year in 1997 by the North American Association on Environmental Education.

A native of San Francisco, Hass was deeply influenced by the poets who lived in the Bay Area during the 1950s. "I started out imagining myself as a novelist or essayist, but then Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg came along; and poetry, imbued with the whole lifestyle of the Beats, was much more exciting," Hass has said.

For more information about this event, contact the Writers’ Workshop at 335-0416. For UI arts information, visit this new address -- www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa -- on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu>.