Philip Levine Named Poet Laureate

In August, Librarian of Congress James Billington announced Philip Levine as the new Poet Laureate for 2011-2012, making him the 18th recipient of this honor.  Levine officially began his duties on October 17, by opening the Library of Congress’s literary season with a reading of his work.

In appointing Levine to this position, Billington was recognizing a lifetime of the poet’s scholarly and creative contributions, stretching back to the early 1960s.  During that time he has written several books of poetry, translated collections of Spanish poetry, and authored works of literary criticism.  Additionally, Levine has taught poetry for a number of years at California State University. He has also taught at New York University, Columbia, Princeton, Brown, and Tufts universities, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Rice Library contains several of Levine’s works in its print, electronic, and audiovisual collections.  The CREDO reference database has multiple entries from various sources on Levine, the longest one coming from the Encyclopedia of American Poetry:  The Twentieth Century.  For additional biographical information, you might consult the Biography in Context database which will provide access to entries from reference works as well as journal, magazine, and news articles and audio pieces.  The Literature Online (LION) database contains many Levine resources including full-text copies of several of his poems, a biographical sketch, a complete bibliography, literary criticism, and links to multiple web sites, including the Poetry Archive where one can listen to Levine read a selection of his poems.

Finally, for an interesting interview conducted with Levine by American Libraries in which he discusses his role as Poet Laureate and his love/hate relationship with libraries, click here.


National Gaming Day @ Your Library

Rice Library and thousands of libraries across the country will join the American Library Association (ALA) in celebrating the popularity and educational, recreational, and social value of games for National Gaming Day @ Your Library on Thursday, November 10, 2011 from 5-7pm in the 4th Floor Reading Room.

We’ll be kicking it old school and playing a wide variety of board and card games including Scrabble, Risk, and Trivial Pursuit. Refreshments will also be served. Please join us!

Hoosiers and the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Commemoration

2011 marks the beginning of the United States’ five-year commemoration of the Civil War, and the State of Indiana has been active in preparing for and observing this significant historical event.  According to the Indiana Historical Bureau’s website, “The Indiana Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee was appointed by the Indiana History Collaborative to encourage Hoosiers to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War (1861-1865), to provide online resources to help Hoosiers gain a better understanding of Indiana’s part in this most devastating conflict in the nation’s history, and to encourage communication among interested individuals, groups, and organizations.”

The sesquicentennial website itself features a wide range of materials that may be useful to students and educators, researchers, and private citizens in studying the Civil War and observing its 150th anniversary.  The major categories of information include “Hoosier Voices Then” which “provides primary sources on the reactions of Indiana residents to major events” of the war through newspaper articles, letters, and journals.  A second section, “Hoosier Voices Now,” includes a series of new and original historical essays written by leading Civil War historians that “explore and interpret Indiana’s participation in the Civil War and its effects on Indiana’s people.”  The final two sections—“Links & Resources” and “Calendar of Events”—respectively provide users with links to related online resources and primary sources and a chronological listing of sesquicentennial observances throughout the state.

It is worth noting that one of the core essays in the “Hoosier Voices Now” section was contributed by Dr. Thomas Rodgers, a professor in USI’s History Department.  Dr. Rodgers’ essay is entitled “The Hoosier Soldier in the Civil War.” Drawing upon a number of contemporary records, Dr. Rodgers details many aspects of the life of Hoosier soldiers and sailors from enlistment and conscription to battle engagement and confinement as prisoners of war.  The essay concludes, as do all of those in the “Hoosier Voices Now” section with a bibliography of additional sources.

Rice Library contains many items related to the Civil War, and in particular Indiana’s participation in the war, first-person narratives, correspondence, and primary sources.  Why not check out and study one of these works as you commemorate this important event in U.S. history.  A great place to start for resource ideas would be the Civil War section of the American Wars Libguide.