On October 22 and 23, 2015, Washington University Libraries’ Department of Special Collections will host a symposium celebrating the writing and the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Merrill. Dr. Langdon Hammer, professor of English at Yale University and author of the new biography James Merrill: Life and Art, will deliver the keynote address on October 22. Talks, readings, and other events will take place during the symposium. The lineup of speakers includes Mary Jo Bang, J. D. McClatchy, and Carl Phillips. A reception will be held on October 22. All events will take place on Washington University’s Danforth Campus.
The Department of Special Collections houses the James Merrill Papers, one of the Libraries’ first acquisitions for its Modern Literature Collection (MLC), which was founded in 1964. Merrill, who died in 1995, consistently donated journals, photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, and other materials to the MLC. It’s now the largest archive in the world devoted to his life and work. Selections from the papers are available online via the James Merrill Digital Archive, a digital exhibit launched in 2013 that features transcripts of the poet’s famous Ouija board sessions.
The James Merrill symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Go here to register. For more information, contact Joel Minor, Curator of the Modern Literature Collection, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-935-5413.