March 2007 Atkinson Lecture Is One of a Kind

Two of the nation's most gifted writers, one a poet and the other a playwright, will share the stage in Smith Auditorium at Willamette University March 20 where they will discuss the nexus of art and politics in America.

Former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and Pulitzer Prize recipient Tony Kushner will share the evening that closes out the 2006-07 Atkinson Lecture Series at Willamette.

Tickets will be available for faculty, students and staff at the Information Desk in University Center beginning March 1. The first ticket is free; subsequent tickets are $10 each. (Because we expect this lecture to sell out, we are not making tickets available to the general public.)

Tony Kushner's plays are as complex as his own beginnings. The gay, Jewish socialist, raised in Louisiana and educated at Columbia University and New York University, says he enjoys addressing audiences that are receptive to ideas for change and progress. And his ideas have earned him high praise.

His plays include A Bright Room Called Day, Angels in America, Homebody/Kabul, and Caroline or Change. He wrote the screenplay for the Mike Nichols film of Angels in America and Steven Spielberg's Munich.

Among his many accolades, Kushner is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, two Tony Awards for Best Play, three Obie Awards for playwriting, the Evening Standard Award, a Whiting Writer's Fellowship, an Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and an Emmy. In 1998, London's National Theatre selected Angels in America as one of the "ten best plays of the 20th century."

Pinsky, U.S. Poet Laureate from 1997-00, has dedicated his career to identifying and invigorating poetry's place in the world. He is the author of six acclaimed collections of poetry, most recently Jersey Rain. His collection, The Figured Wheel, was a Pulitzer Prize nominee and received the Lenore Marshall Award and the Ambassador Book Award of the English Speaking Union.

He was elected in 1999 to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and his poems appear in magazines such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Threepenny, American Poetry Review and frequently in the Best American Poetry anthologies.

Pinsky teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University.

The Atkinson Lecture series has welcomed world leaders, authors, actors, scientists and educators to campus since its founding in 1956.