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Bard College Inaugurates the Anthony Hecht Lectures in the Humanities

Mark Primoff
Biennial Series Presents World-Renowned Scholars in Residence at Bard College; Inaugural Lectures Feature Literary Scholar Christopher Ricks
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—This spring Bard College honors distinguished poet, alumnus, and former Bard faculty member Anthony Hecht ’44 with the creation of the Anthony Hecht Lectures in the Humanities at Bard College. This biennial series has been established to honor the memory of this pre-eminent poet by reflecting his lifelong interest in literature, music, the visual arts, and our cultural history. Every two years, a distinguished scholar will deliver a series of lectures at Bard College and in New York City, which will address works close to Hecht’s own imagination and sympathies through a series of public lectures and events taking place during a campus residency. Each lecture series will be published by Yale University Press. Literary scholar and author Christopher Ricks, known for his extensive scholarly work in poetics will inaugurate the lecture series in March 2007, with lectures at Bard on Tuesday, March 6, Thursday, March 8, and Thursday March 15. All the lectures take place at 4:30 p.m. in Weis Cinema in the Bertelsmann Campus Center, and all are free and open to the public. His lectures at Bard—on the subject, “True Friendship”—will focus on the relationships between Geoffrey Hill and T. S. Eliot (March 6); Geoffrey Hill, Ezra Pound, and others (March 8); and Anthony Hecht, T. S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound (March 15). He will also speak at the 92nd St. Y on Monday, March 12, on "Robert Lowell, T. S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound." Simon Schama will deliver the second series of lectures in the fall of 2008. “It is a great honor that Anthony Hecht chose Bard as his home, both as a student and a faculty member, and we are delighted to recognize his extraordinary achievements through this important new lecture series,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “These lectures are a wonderful way to remember Anthony Hecht’s serious commitment to the arts. Many important and enduring books have had their start as lectures; we look forward to many extraordinary possibilities,” said John Donatich, director of the Yale University Press. Anthony Hecht graduated from Bard in 1944 and taught at the college from 1952–55 and 1962–66. “Anthony Hecht was one of America’s most distinguished poets of the past half-century, whose musically exquisite verse expressed dark observations about mankind,” wrote Matt Schudel of the Washington Post. Hecht, 1923–2004, was the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Flight Among the Tombs and The Darkness and the Light, as well as several critical books including Melodies Unheard: Essays on the Mysteries of Poetry and The Hidden Law: The Poetry of W. H. Auden. In 1951 he was the recipient of the Prix de Rome, being the first fellow in literature to study at the American Academy in Rome. Numerous honors followed including the Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for The Hard Hours, the Bollingen Prize, the Eugenio Montale Award for lifetime achievement in poetry, the Ruth Lilly Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award, the Robert Frost Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Medal of the Arts. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. From 1982–84 he served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, the position now known as Poet Laureate. Through his poems, scholarship, and teaching, Anthony Hecht has come to be recognized as the moral voice of his poetic generation, and his works continue to have a profound impact on contemporary American poetry (From the National Endowment for the Arts). ABOUT THE INAUGURAL LECTURER Christopher Ricks, Professor of Poetry at Oxford University and Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University, was described by W. H. Auden as “the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding.” “Allusion to the Poets (2005) sparkles with an enjoyment that answers repeatedly to the delighted complexity and play of alert poetic imagination: for a long time to come, all good critics will be Christopher Ricks’s heirs,” writes Peter McDonald in the Times Literary Supplement. Ricks’s other books include Dylan’s Visions of Sin (2003), which examines the lyrics of Bob Dylan; Reviewery (2001); Decisions and Revisions in T. S. Eliot (2004); Essays in Appreciation (1996); Beckett’s Dying Words (1993); T. S. Eliot and Prejudice (1988); and Keats and Embarrassment (1974). Among the books he has edited are The Poems of Tennyson (rev. 1987); New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse (1987); Inventions of the March Hare: Poems 1909–1917 by T. S. Eliot (1996); The Oxford Book of English Verse (1999); and Selected Poems of James Henry (2002). Ricks is codirector and founder of the Editorial Institute at Boston University. He is the general editor of two Penguin series, Penguin English Poets and Poets in Translation, and a coeditor of Essays in Criticism. With Frances Whistler he is codirector of publication of the Selected Edition of the Work of James Fitzjames Stephen, an eleven volume edition being published by Oxford University Press. Ricks is a member of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics and was formerly professor of English at Bristol and Cambridge Universities. For further information, call 845-758-7405. # # # (02.12.07)

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This event was last updated on 03-19-2007