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Robert Hass, U.S. Poet Laureate: A Resource Guide

About Robert Hass at the Library of Congress

Robert Hass served as the Library of Congress's 8th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 1995-1997. The links below provide more information about his activities at the Library, including webcasts, blog posts, and related news releases.

On May 8, 1995, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Robert Hass as the 8th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Hass opened his term on October 12, 1995 with a reading of his works of poetry. Listen to the recording here:

During his first term, Hass sponsored a weeklong celebration of American nature in literature called "Watershed: Writers, Nature, and Community." The April 1996 event brought 26 writers and poets to the Library of Congress, including Gary Snyder, Terry Tempest Williams, Wendell Berry and William Kittredge. Robert Hass also initiated a column in The Washington Post's Book World called "Poet's Choice," in which he introduced and explored one poem per week.

Librarian of Congress James Billington reappointed Robert Hass to a second term as laureate on April 23, 1996. Hass closed his first term on May 2, 1996, with a lecture titled "The Cultures of American Poetry."

Hass finished his time as poet laureate in 1997, but remained closely tied to the Library of Congress. The poet hosted the River of Words Ceremony at the Library for a number of years following his laureateship. Hass founded River of Words with writer and activist Pamela Michael in 1995; one of its signature events, conducted in affiliation with the Library of Congress' Center for the Book, is a free, annual international poetry and art contest for children in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

The Library of Congress features several recordings of Robert Hass reading and discussing his poetry and the poetry of other poets. These are listed below.


Other Recordings