Words and Images is happy to co-sponsor the 2008 O’Brien Poetry Lecture, at 4 p.m., Friday, October 24, on the 7th floor of the Glickman Family Library, Forest Ave., Portland. For more information, call 780-4291.
The 2008 O’Brien poet is Frank Bidart.
“Bidart has a remarkable ability to capture the nuance and vitality of voice,” says Betsy Sholl, Poet Laureate of Maine and lecturer in the English Department at USM. Bidart has taught at Wellesley College since 1972. He was educated at the University of California at Riverside and Harvard University. His recent volumes of work include “Star Dust” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005), “Music Like Dirt” (2002), and “Desire” (1997), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award.
Bidart has been the recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation Writer’s Award, the Shelly Award of the Poetry Society of America, and the Paris Review’s first Bernard F. Conners Prize. In 2007, he received the Bollingen Prize in American Poetry.
Katharine E. O’Brien, for whom the celebration is named, was a Deering High School math teacher who bequeathed money to the University of Maine System, a part of which was designated for USM’s Libraries to purchase volumes of poetry and establish the annual O’Brien Poetry Lecture. O’Brien’s papers, documenting her own poetry writing, are housed in Special Collections in the Glickman Family Library. The event is sponsored by USM’s Libraries and the English Department, and this is the first time Words and Images has acted as co-sponsor.