Jorie Graham

Jorie Graham

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet to Address Founders’ Day

January 10, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham will address the Illinois Wesleyan University Founders’ Day Convocation at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Westbrook Auditorium of Presser Hall (1210 N. Park St., Bloomington). The event is free and open to the public.

Founders’ Day honors the 30 founders who signed the charter for the University in 1850. In celebration, The Ames Library will hold its annual exhibit highlighting the documents from the University’s founding, including Illinois Wesleyan’s “birth certificate.”

Graham is an internationally renown author of numerous collections of poetry, most recently Sea Change (Ecco, 2008), Never (2002), Swarm (2000), and The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-1994, which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Graham has also edited several anthologies, including Earth Took of Earth: 100 Great Poems of the English Language (1996) and The Best American Poetry 1990. Her works have been translated for publication in German, Spanish and Italian.

Writing for the New York Times, critic James Longenbach compared Graham’s work to Yeats, noting “for 30 years Jorie Graham has engaged the whole human contraption — intellectual, global, domestic, apocalyptic — rather than the narrow emotional slice of it most often reserved for poems.”

At present, she is the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University, the first woman to be named to the professorship. She has taught at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and served as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1997 to 2003. Her many honors include a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Graham was born in New York City, raised in Rome and educated in French schools. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris before attending New York University as an undergraduate, where she studied filmmaking. She received an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa.

Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960