Posted on Apr 27, 1998

Schenectady, N.Y. (April 27, 1998) – Literary critic Helen Vendler will give a lecture titled “Melville's Civil War Poetry: Epic into Lyric” on Thursday, May 7, at 4:30 p.m. in Union College's Nott Memorial.

Her talk is free and open to the public.

Vendler, the A. Kingsley Porter University Professor of English and American Literature at Harvard University, will be visiting Union for several days. Designated by Seamus Heaney as “our best reader of poems,” Vendler sits on the committee that annually determines the winners in poetry and fiction of the Pulitzer Prize.

Vendler has written about British poetry from the 14th century to the present, United States poetry from the 19th century to today and poetry written throughout the 20th century in Central and South America and in Eastern and Western Europe. In all her writing Vendler has taken notice of current developments in criticism and theory, but she maintains strenuous attention to the factor above all others that distinguishes poetry from other forms of discourse, notably its aesthetic power.

Author of a dozen books on poets and poetry, her most recent The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets “will prove to be the most valuable critical performance in recent American literature on classic texts…,” according to Richard Howard in The New York Times Book Review. He continues: “Vendler's Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets is an authentic act of contemporary criticism as well as a reading of the most cherished lyric poetry in the English language. It constitutes a ground of poetic apprehension that cannot be gainsaid, and it offers the opportunity to enjoy the art of poetry where we all agree it must be found, as one enjoys most what one understands best.”

The lecture, sponsored by the Union College English department, will be followed by a reception in the Nott Memorial.

The 16-sided Nott Memorial is located at the center of campus and parking is available on campus and on nearby side streets.

For more information, call 388-6131.