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  • Wednesday, April 3, 2024 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Kelly Writers House

Co-sponsored by the Kauders Fund
Hosted by Julia Bloch
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Amy Paeth's new book The American Poet Laureate shows how the state has been the silent center of poetic production in the US since World War II. Paeth's award-winning book is the first history of the national poetry office, highlighting the careers of Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Pinsky, Tracy K. Smith, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Joy Harjo at the nation’s Capitol. Her book is also a history of how state poets participated in national arts programming during the Cold War. Drawing on previously unexplored archival materials at the Library of Congress and materials at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Paeth describes how interactions between the CIA, the State Department, the NEA, and literary organizations and private patrons, including “Prozac heiress” Ruth Lilly, led poetry to play a uniquely important role in the cultural front of the Cold War. Joining Paeth in conversation will be Robert Casper of the Library of Congress.

Amy Paeth is a lecturer in critical writing at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching courses in writing, literature, and cultural studies. The American Poet Laureate: A History of U.S. Poetry and the State (Columbia University Press, 2023) is her first book. It received the Northeast Modern Language Association’s Annual Book Award.

Robert Casper is the head of Poetry and Literature at the Library of Congress, where he has worked since 2011. He divides his time between Brooklyn, NY, and Washington, DC.