University of Pittsburgh
February 23, 2004

Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series to Host Poets Judith Vollmer and Joe Weil March 4

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Poets Judith Vollmer and Joe Weil will give free readings as part of the University of Pittsburgh Writing Program's Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers series at 8:30 p.m. March 4 in Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Room 125, Schenley Drive, Oakland.

Vollmer, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg and director of its writing program, is an award-winning poet. She received the 1998 Cleveland State Poetry Prize and was a 2000 honors finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, both for her collection of poetry titled The Door Open to the Fire (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1998). She also earned the 1997 Center for Book Arts Prize for Black Butterfly (Center for Book Arts, 1997) and the 1990 Brittingham Prize for Level Green (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004). She was awarded a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and, in 1992, was presented with the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award.

A reporter for The Pittsburgh Press through the mid-1970s, Vollmer attributes much of the content of her writing to the events she covered while working for the newspaper.

Vollmer, who lives in Pittsburgh, is also coeditor of 5 AM, an independent magazine of contemporary poetry. Her most recent publication is a collection of poems titled Reactor (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004). She earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature in 1973 and the Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry in 1980, both from Pitt.

Weil, born and raised in Elizabeth, N.J., often reflects on the working man's plight in his poetry. Known not only for his writing but also for his passionate reading style, Weil has read his poetry on National Public Radio and won a poetry slam at the Nuyorican Café in New York City. His poems have been published in The Journal of New Jersey Poets to the Red Brick Review, Lips, The Paterson Poetry Review, and The New York Times. Weil also founded the literary magazine Black Swan and the environmentally conscious poetry magazine Anti-Lawn. He has published three poetry compellations: The Pursuit of Happiness (Iniquity Press, 2002); In Praise We Enter (Rain Bucket Press, 1998); and A Portable Winter (Iniquity Press, 1999).

Weil resides in Cranford, N.J., and codirects Poets Wednesday, the longest-running poetry series in New Jersey. He is also an advanced creative writing teacher at Arts High School in New Brunswick, N.J.

The Contemporary Writers Series is sponsored by The Book Center and The Wyndham Garden Hotel.

For more information, call 412-624-6506.