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Emergency Notification

Jean Burden Poetry Reading

April 9, 2004
Black and gold graphic bar
 April 9, 2004

Margie Yu
Public Affairs Specialist 
(323) 343-3047



Cal State L.A. 
Office of Public Affairs 
(323) 343-3050 
Fax: (323) 343-6405

For immediate release:
Distinguished Poet Anthony Hecht
to Read at Cal State L.A.'’s
Poetry Series on Wednesday, April 21

Los Angeles, CA -- The Virginia E. Smith bequest of over $660,000 for poetry at California State University, Los Angeles, will expand the Jean Burden Annual Poetry Series and increase access to living poets and their work by students, faculty and staff in the Los Angeles area communities.

Celebrating this enhancement of the established Jean Burden endowment, the English Department and the College of Arts and Letters at Cal State L.A. present a reading by distinguished poet and Los Angeles Times’ Book Prize for Poetry nominee Anthony Hecht on Wednesday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m., in the Ballroom of the Golden Eagle building. The reading, reception and book signing are free and open to the public, in keeping with the mission of the Jean Burden series.

Hecht, one of America’s most distinguished poets and a chancellor emeritus of the Academy of American Poets, has received such major awards as the Pulitzer Prize (for The Hard Hours, 1967) in poetry, the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Prize, and the Harriet Monroe Poetry Award. A recipient of Guggenheim, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation fellowships among others, Hecht is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, essays, and translations. He edited a collection of the poems of 17th Century British poet George Herbert and, with John Hollander a collection of double dactyls, Jiggery-Pokery.

Known as a poet of extraordinary formal grace and insight, Hecht is perhaps best known for poems in which he grapples with the darkness of twentieth century history and all its horrors in measured language.

Virginia E. Smith, a former poetry student of Jean Burden, established herself as an advertising copywriter who turned to poetry at an advanced age. “She was active as a poet well into her nineties,” said Dean Carl Selkin of CSULA’s College of Arts and Letters, who founded the Jean Burden readings. “Her creativity kept her sharp, and it was always a joy to hear what she had to say about the poets she heard or was reading and the students at Cal State L.A. with whom she came in contact.” Her bequest will fund an enhanced poetry reading series, residencies and other activities to promote interest in and appreciation of contemporary poetry.

Jean Burden Annual Poetry Series
The annual poetry readings were established at Cal State L.A. in 1986 to honor Altadenan Jean Burden for her influence as a poet, essayist, anthologist, teacher and editor, and for her long-standing support of poetry on the Cal State L.A. campus. In addition to poetry, Burden has published a book of essays, Journey Toward Poetry, and articles and books on topics ranging from animal welfare to Oriental religion. Burden was also poetry editor of Yankee magazine for more than 40 years.

This increasingly popular event features an annual reading by a major or emerging American poet. Noted poets, Pulitzer Prize winners and U.S. Poets Laureate have been guest readers since the inception of this series at Cal State L.A., including Maxine Kumin, Mary Oliver, Tess Gallagher, Lucille Clifton, Galway Kinnell, Carolyn Kizer, Howard Nemerov, Richard Wilbur, Linda Pastan, and Mark Strand.

The University is located at the Eastern Avenue exit, San Bernardino Freeway, at the interchange of the 10 and 710 Freeways. Public (permit dispensers) parking is available on the top level of Parking Structure II, at the north end of campus. Cost is $.50 per hour for parking. For more information on the poetry reading, call (323) 343-4001.

WORKING FOR CALIFORNIA – California State University, Los Angeles: A comprehensive university at the heart of a major metropolitan city. The 175-acre hilltop campus is located five miles east of Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. Since 1947, Cal State L.A. has been a leader in providing quality higher education. Today, the campus comprises a faculty of internationally recognized scholars and artists, and more than 21,000 students with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds that reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Cal State L.A. is one of 23 campuses in the CSU system.

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