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Tim Seibles Featured Reader at Library of Congress Poetry Event

Photo of Tim SeiblesODU associate professor Tim Seibles (third from left) poses for a picture at a Library of Congress poetry reading with Clare Hogan, an intern in the Library of Congress programming office; fellow writer/presenter Rowan Ricardo Phillips; and Matthew Blakely, Library of Congress program support assistant.

Old Dominion University faculty member, and nationally renowned poet, Tim Seibles appeared recently at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to read from the works of poet Countee Cullen as part of a series of events honoring influential American authors.

Seibles appeared May 30 in Whittall Pavilion at the Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress to commemorate Cullen's birthday. At each event, two writers appear to discuss the celebrated author and read from his or her work.

Countee Cullen was born in New York City in 1903 and as a young man emerged as a celebrated writer of the Harlem Renaissance-era. He died in 1946.

Seibles said the event marked his first trip to the Library of Congress, which he described as "a cathedral for books and those who love them." During the presentation, Seibles was flanked by some of Cullen's original poetry manuscripts and personal letters.

"Bringing his poetry back into voice was a moving experience, particularly because I have taught the Harlem Renaissance for many years and, therefore, had taught Cullen's work," Seibles said. "It was an even greater pleasure to simply read him aloud for interested listeners. Being part of such an event at the Library of Congress gives you a clear sense of being a part of history, an active part of history. I feel very fortunate to have had such an opportunity."

Seibles, who is an associate professor of English and creative writing at ODU, has been on the university faculty for 17 years. He is an award-winning author of several collections of poetry, including "Fast Animal," for which he was named a finalist for a National Book Award in 2012.