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Saint Xavier Reads Between the Lines with Poetry Series

Joseph Parisi, former editor of Poetry magazine, to continue series on Feb. 2

CHICAGO (Jan. 5, 2004) – Did you know that the first submissions of Robert Frost were rejected or that W.S. Merwin is an expert on palm trees? Saint Xavier University’s poetry series, “Poetry and the Search for Meaning” is highlighting a side of poetry not learned in the classroom. The series, sponsored by the Center for Religion and Public Discourse, will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2 in McGuire Hall of the Warde Academic Center located on Saint Xavier's Chicago Campus, 3700 W. 103rd St. Joseph Parisi, the former editor-in-chief of Poetry magazine, will share little known facts and provide insight into the personalities of some of the most renowned poets of all time. 

“Joseph is a great story teller. I think people will find this event to be both fascinating and intellectually stimulating,” said Sister Susan M. Sanders, RSM, vice president for Mission and Heritage and director of the Center for Religion and Public Discourse.

Parisi’s presentation, “On a Personal Note,” will include stories from his book, “Dear Editor: A History of Poetry in Letters, the First Fifty Years, 1912-1962.” He will give an inside view of the early modernist movement and -- through their personal letters to the magazine -- reveal the lives of famous poets like T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound before they were famous. 

Interestingly, Parisi is not only a gifted story teller, but a kind editor. The genuine sentiments in his rejection letters were so appreciated that they yielded an unprecendented $100 million donation to Poetry magazine. Ruth Lilly, heiress to the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical fortune, who had received handwritten rejection notes from Parisi, ensured the magazine’s existence with her gift.

Parisi received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Everett Helm Fellowship. He has lectured at The Poetry Society of America, The Newberry Library, Cambridge and several universities around the country.

Parisi will be signing his book, which will be available for purchase at the event.

The series will continue at 7 p.m. on April 6 in McGuire Hall with Pulitzer Prize winner Lisel Mueller’s “The Need to Keep Still.” The final installment is an evening with W.S. Merwin, Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the 2004 Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award. The location and time for this event is yet to be announced.

For more information about the poetry series, please contact 773-298-3891.

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