Lannan Endowed Chair

            On Friday the 15th of September in the festive setting of the Riggs Memorial Library members of the Lannan Family and of the Lannan Foundation joined with faculty members from the Georgetown English Department in celebrating an extraordinary gift,  a $3 million endowment from the Lannan Foundation to establish the Lannan Foundation Chair within the English Department.  The Lannan Chair will be the anchor of a new Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, additionally funded at $100,000 for three years, with the promise of repeated renewals of this funding. 

            The Lannan Chair will be a revolving appointment,  to be held by distinguished international writers for terms of one to three years. Its full title is the Lannan Foundation Chair of Poetics Ė poetics understood in the largest sense of the term, encompassing the manifold genres of the world republic of literature, and embracing creative practices engaged with issues of cultural freedom and matters of public consequence.  Its emphasis will be international in scope and  will enable the English Department to bring to Georgetown  writers and thinkers from around the globe who will allow Georgetown to become even more than in the past a publicly significant forum for the nexus of contemporary poetics and social practice.   The Lannan Professor will teach at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, offer and/or sponsor readings, and contribute directly to the programming under the auspices of the Lannan Center -- in particular the already extant Lannan Poetry Series and the annual Lannan Symposium -- and, it is hoped, broaden their international reach. 

            The Lannan Center will oversee the numerous Lannan programs currently in the Departmentís portfolio, namely: 1) the annual Lannan Poetry Series;  2) the annual Lannan Symposium;  3) the Lannan Fellows and seminar series; 4) the Lannan Graduate Fellowship, which supports a graduate student who assists with Lannan programming; 5) the Visiting Lannan Writer-in-Residence; 6) the Distinguished Reader series; and  7) outreach programs, such as Poetry in the Schools and various programs at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts.

            Patrick Lannan, the head of the Foundation, is a 1960 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences; his daughter, Sharron Lannan Korybut, received an undergraduate degree from the English Department in 1990 and a Georgetown English MA in 1991.  They work closely with Georgetown in the development of these Lannan programs, assisted by the staff of the Lanna Foundation, people like Jaune Evans and Jo Chapman who have become creative and generous colleagues working on these Georgetown based projects.

The Lannan Foundation is one of the largest arts/culture oriented foundations in the United States.  The range and the initiative of its work can be sampled on the Foundationís  website at  www.lannan.org , which outlines the Foundationís  literary, artistic, and indigenous communities programs, and their emphasis on literary/cultural freedom and the relationship of the arts to social justice. 

    The recent developments leading to this endowed chair and to the enhancement and the growth of various other programs are the fruit of many years -- more than a decade -- of dedicated work by many people, above all  David Gewanter and Mark McMorris, but many others:  Ward Tietz, George O'Brien, Lucy Maddox, Gay Cima, Andrew Rubin, Louise Bernard, and others who have been part of Lannan programs in recent years.  To all these, but especially David and Mark, the English Department owes a very singular debt of thanks.

            On April 21 Professor Mark McMorris announced that the first holder of the new Lannan Chair in Poetics, for 2007-2008, will be Ammiel Alcalay of the CUNY Graduate Center and Queens College, in New York City. Dr. Alacaly was most recently a visitor to Georgetown for the Lannan Symposium 2006, The World Republic of Literature. A prolific scholar, translator, editor, and poet, he has published After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture (1993) and From the Warring Factions (2002), and edited Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing (1996). His translations from Spanish, Arabic, Bosnian, and Hebrew have circulated widely. His important translation from the Bosnian of Semezdin Mehmedinovic's Sarajevo Blues appeared in English in 2003. Alacaly's research interests include Sephardic literature, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean literature and culture, Balkan literatures and history, American poetry poetics, and theories of translation. He is currently Deputy Executive Director of the Doctoral Program in English at the Graduate Center.

For a more detailed announcement of the new Lannan Chair of Poetics , please visit http://www.georgetown.edu (News and Events), or http://explore.georgetown.edu/news/?ID=24624.