: OOPSLA Keynote : Tuesday
Town and Country Room
Tuesday, 8:30, 1 hour 30 minutes
Robert Hass, Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets
In his role as United States Poet Laureate, Robert Hass spent two years battling American illiteracy, armed with the mantra, "imagination makes communities." He crisscrossed the country speaking at Rotary Club meetings, raising money to organize conferences such as "Watershed," which brought together noted novelists, poets, and storytellers to talk about writing, nature, and community. For Hass, everything is connected. When he works to heighten literacy, he is also working to promote awareness about the environment. Hass believes that natural beauty must be tended to and that caring for a place means knowing it intimately. Poets, especially, need to pay constant attention to the interaction of mind and environment. And when he is talking about poetry itself, whether Matsuo Basho's or Elizabeth Bishop's, Hass is both spontaneous and original, offering poetic insights that cannot be found in any textbook.
Robert Hass has published many books of poetry including Field Guide, Praise, Human Wishes, and Sun Under Wood, as well as a book of essays on poetry, Twentieth Century Pleasures. Hass translated many of the works of Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz, and he edited Selected Poems: 1954-1986 by Thomas Transtromer, The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa, and Poet's Choice: Poems for Everyday Life. Robert Hass's deep commitment to environmental issues led him to found River of Words (ROW), an organization that promotes environmental and arts education in affiliation with the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Hass is chairman of ROW's board of directors, and judges their annual international environmental poetry and art contest for youth. He is also a board member of International Rivers Network. Robert Hass was chosen as Educator of the Year by the North American Association on Environmental Education. Robert Hass was the guest editor of the 2001 edition of Best American Poetry.
Awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, twice the National Book Critics Circle Award (in 1984 and 1997), and the Yale Series of Younger Poets in 1973, Robert Hass is a professor of English at UC Berkeley.