Each year the English Major in Writing at Northwestern University brings to campus at least one prominent writer in each genre (poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction) for one week of events including writing classes, a public reading, and individual conferences with advanced writing students. Frank Bidart reads from his work as part of the third annual Spring Writers' Festival.
Frank Bidart was born in Bakersfield, California, in 1939 and educated at the University of California at Riverside and at Harvard University, where he was a student and friend of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. His first volume of poetry, Golden State (1973), was selected by poet Richard Howard for the Braziller Poetry series, but it wasn't until the publication of The Sacrifice (1983) that Bidart's poetry began to attract a wider readership. Bidart's early books are collected in In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-90 (1990). His recent volumes include Star Dust(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005), Music Like Dirt (2002), and Desire(1997), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic's Circle Award. He is also the co-editor of Robert Lowell's Collected Poems(2003). His honors include the Wallace Stevens Award, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Foundation Writer's Award, the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Shelley Award of the Poetry Society of America, and The Paris Review's first Bernard F. Conners Prize for "The War of Vaslav Nijinsky" in 1981. In 2007, he received the Bollingen Prize in American Poetry. Bidart was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2003. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he has taught at Wellesley College since 1972.
Recorded Thursday, April 15, 2010 at Hotel Orrington - Heritage Ballroom.