Chestertown, MD, March 31, 2005 — Washington College's Sophie Kerr Committee presents “William Stafford and the Inner Life of Writing,” a lecture by Robert Stewart, editor of New Letters: A Magazine of Writing and Art, Monday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr Room, Miller Library. Stewart will discuss the life and work of William Stafford (1914-1993), noted American poet and pacifist who won the National Book Award in 1963 and later served at poetry consultant to the Library of Congress, a position now known as the U. S. Poet Laureate The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
Stewart teaches creative writing, magazine writing, and editing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he also serves as editor-in-chief of the university's literary imprint, BkMk Press. His poetry has been anthologized in A to Z: 200 Contemporary American Poets and Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of Poetry. He is the author of Outside Language: Essays (Helicon Nine Editions, 2004)—a finalist in the PEN Center Literary Awards for 2004 and winner of the 2004 Thorpe Menn Award—the poetry collection Plumbers (BkMk Press), Letter From the Living(Borderline Editions), and Climatron (Helicon Nine Editions), as well as two chapbooks,Taking Leave and Rescue Mission. His poetry and essays have appeared in several national publications, including Denver Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, Borderline, Prairie Schooner,Literary Review, and North American Review. Stewart has been a Breadloaf Scholar in Poetry, winner of the poetry prize at the Wesleyan University Writers Conference, and twice a finalist in the annual Kansas City Press Club's Excellence in Journalism Awards.
The talk is sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee, which works to carry on the legacy of the late Sophie Kerr, a writer from Denton, Md., whose generosity has done so much to enrich Washington College's literary culture. When she died in 1965, Kerr left the bulk of her estate to the College, specifying that one half of the income from her bequest be awarded every year to the senior showing the most “ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor” and the other half be used to bring visiting writers to campus, to fund scholarships, and to help defray the costs of student publications.