April 6, 1999 (Tuesday) at 8:00 p.m.
Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
University at Albany, Uptown Campus
4:00 p.m. Afternoon Seminar in Humanities 290
Hayden Carruth has published 30 books, chiefly of poetry but also including a novel, four books of criticism and two anthologies. His most recent book is Reluctantly: Autobiographical Essays (1998). His Collected Shorter Poems, 1946-1991 received the National Book Critics' Circle Award, and his collection, Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey (1996), received the 1996 National Book Award for poetry. Carruth has been editor of Poetry, poetry editor of Harper's and, for 25 years, an advisory editor at The Hudson Review. He has received fellowships from the Bollingen Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation (two), the National Endowment for the Arts (four),and the New York Arts Foundation. He has been presented with the Lenore Marshal Award, the Vermont Governor's Medal, the Sarah Josepha Hale Award, the Brandeis University Award, the Carl Sandburg Award, the Whiting Award, the Ruth Lily Prize, the National Book Critics' Circle award for poetry, the Lannan Award for Poetry, the National Book Award for Poetry, and many others. In 1988 he was appointed a Senior Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Hayden Carruth was born in 1921 and for many years lived in northern Vermont. He lives now in upstate New York, retired from teaching in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.
"A number of times I've been asked to write a proper autobiography," Hayden Carruth writes, "a tight narrative with the usual dovetails, diagrams, and genealogical apparatus. No, I've said. How can I write like that about myself when so much of myself has been constructed by others?" So begins Reluctantly, a collection of stunning autobiographical fragments and essays from one of this century's great poets. Reluctantly, which Booklist called "powerful autobiography, chronicles Carruth's lifetime of wrestling with demons and muses; time spent hospitalized for severe chronic depression; his nearly successful suicide attempt; and his passionate love of jazz and blues.
Hayden Carruth was most recently in the news when he declined an invitation from Bill and Hillary Clinton to attend a gathering of American poets at the White House. Carruth's brief RSVP to the President and First Lady, which aired on National Public Radio, stated:
"This is to acknowledge your invitation to attend a 'Millennium Evening' at the White House in celebration of American poetry on the evening of April 22 (1998). Thank you for thinking of me. However, it would seem the greatest hypocrisy for an honest American poet to be present on such an occasion at the seat of the power which has not only neglected but abused the interests of poets and their readers continually, to say nothing of many other administratively dispensable segments of the population. Consequently, I must decline."
"Contemporary American poetry doesn't get any richer than this." - Ray Olson, Booklist on Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey
"Something Hayden Carruth does as well as any living writer is to treat the reader as a friend, and to provide, through his poetry, hours of good company." - New York Times Book Review
Canadian Barry Callaghan, has done work in journalism, television, and filmmaking in addition to his own writing. He began his career as a part-time reporter for Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) television news and gave weekly book reviews on the CBC radio program Audio. During the late 60s he was literary editor of the Toronto Telegram, for which he wrote essays and books reviews that were noted for their insight and controversial candour. Callaghan was host and documentary producer for the public affairs show Weekend. In this capacity he made over 20 short films on political troublespots and taped interviews with international figures such as Golda Meir and King Hussein. As a journalist Callaghan has received seven National Magazine awards.
In 1972 Callaghan founded the international literary quarterly Exile which has featured contributions from Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Jerzy Kosinski, Thomas Kinsella, and Ted Hughes. He is also the founder of the publishing house Exile Editions. His own writing includes the internationally acclaimed Hogg Poems and Drawings (1978), the novel Walkie-Talkie (1980), essays on poetics, The Road to Compostela (1981) a second volume of poems, The Seven Last Words (1981), The Black Queen Stories (1982) and A Kiss Is Still a Kiss (1995).
Callaghan has received numerous awards for his work including the Canadian Periodical Publishers Award for Fiction (1985); Fiction Award, CBC Seventh Annual Literary Competition 1985; Philips Computer Systems Literary Award (1986); and the Ontario Arts Council "Works in Progress" Prize 1987.
His newest book, Barrelhouse Kings (1998), is a fictional memoir about his father, writer Morley Callaghan, a friend in Parisian exile of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. The Toronto Star said, "Barrelhouse Kings is in the front rank of Canadian fiction. . .his best ever." He resides in Toronto.
"His ear for the spoken language is acute; his eye for the telling gesture, precise. The Black Queen is a must for all who are interested in the finest of contemporary North American writing." - Joyce Carol Oates
". . .an absolutely splendid book." - Hayden Carruth, A Kiss is Still a Kiss
"Hogg, splendid poem. . .a song, pious yet profane, an attempt to celebrate, through an incantation that resonates with the contemporary and the biblical, the force and fragility of our condition of Life." - Marie-Claire Blais
"These are very special stories about a contemporary loneliness, a deep aloneness while in each other's arm, eased by laughter, sometimes sardonic, sometimes dark. These stories are remarkable." - John Montague, on The Black Queen Stories