‘Poet of witness’ Forche to speak for Writing Program Reading Series

Poet Carolyn Forché, the visiting Fannie Hurst Professor of Creative Literature in the Writing Program in Arts & Sciences, will read from her work at 8 p.m. Jan. 22.

The talk — part of The Writing Program Reading Series — is free and open to the public and takes place in Duncker Hall, Room 201, Hurst Lounge.


A reception and book signing will immediately follow.

Known as a “poet of witness,” Forché is the author of four books of poetry. Her first collection, “Gathering The Tribes” (1976), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.

The following year, she traveled to Spain to translate the work of Salvadoran-exile Claribel Alegría and later spent time in El Salvador working as a human rights advocate.

Forché’s second book, “The Country Between Us” (1982), received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award and also was the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets.

Her third book of poetry, “The Angel of History” (1994), won The Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her fourth collection, “Blue Hour” (2003), takes its title from the French phrase for predawn light.

Forché’s translation of Alegría’s “Flowers from the Volcano” was released in 1983. Other translations include Mahmoud Darwish’s “Unfortunately,” “It Was Paradise: Selected Poems” (with Munir Akash, 2003) and Robert Desnos’ “Selected Poetry” (with William Kulik, 1991).

She also edited the anthology “Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness” (1993).

Other honors and awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1992, she received the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum.

For more information, call 935-7130 or e-mail David Schuman at dschuman@wustl.edu.