Wednesday, September 5, 2007

'Interrogation Palace' Poet Wojahn to Give Reading at Washington College

Chestertown, MD, September 5, 2007 — Award-winning poet David Wojahn, a 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist, will read from his works in Washington College's Sophie Kerr Room on Wednesday, September 19, at 4:30 p.m.

Wojahn is the author of seven books of poetry and has been the recipient of many awards and prizes: the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, the William Carlos Williams Award and the Celia B. Wagner Award from the Poetry Society of America, Vermont College's Crowley/Weingarten Award for Excellence in Teaching, Poetry magazine's George Kent Prize and three Pushcart Prizes.

This year Wojahn was one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his bookInterrogation Palace. Wojahn said he was both surprised and honored by the recognition, especially considering that Interrogation Palace was selected from among the hundreds of books of poetry published in 2006.

"To have that sort of recognition from your peers means a lot," said Wojahn, "and it was especially gratifying that they recognized this book, which published both new work and a selection of poems from my previous six collections."

Professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University, Wojahn has had his poems appear in The New Republic, The New Yorker, Poetryand elsewhere. For subject matter in his verse, he often looks to moments of historical significance, such as the assassination of John Lennon. Wojahn has expressed the hope that his poetry is considered "activist," and Publishers Weekly has praised his "remarkable and well-informed protest poems."

Wojahn's poetry reading is the opening event in the 2007-2008 Sophie Kerr Lecture Series. The series honors the legacy of its namesake, a writer from Denton, Md., whose generosity has enriched Washington College's literary culture. When she died in 1965, Kerr left the bulk of her estate to Washington 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"—the famed Sophie Kerr Prize—and the other half be used to bring visiting writers to campus, to fund scholarships and to help defray the costs of student publications.

Admission to Wojahn's reading is free and open to the public. The Sophie Kerr Room is located in Miller Library. For more information, call 410/778-7879.

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