Former U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize Winner Robert Hass to Speak Oct. 27 at Cal Poly

SAN LUIS OBISPO — National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Robert Hass will give a poetry reading Oct. 27 at Cal Poly. After the reading, he will discuss his life and his successful career in poetry and environmental activism.

Native to Northern California, Hass worked as a poet, essayist, editor, translator and activist throughout his career. While U.S. Poet Laureate from 1995-97, he sought to combat American illiteracy. Hass yearned to educate the public on the connection among literacy, poetry and the environment. He founded River of Words, which is affiliated with the Library of Congress Center for the Book. The organization promotes education on the environment and the arts. Currently, Hass is a professor of English at UC Berkeley.

The reading will be followed by an on-stage interview and conversation with Cal Poly English Professor Mira Rosenthal. Hass will discuss the life of a poet, activism, creativity, and the formal imagination of poetry.

“He speaks in a way that reminds us that the work of all literature is to increase our empathy, that we are empathic human beings,” said Rosenthal. “The event will allow audience members — students, faculty, and others from our community — to engage with a figure who is at the heart of American poetry.”

Hass will be on hand after the event to sign copies of his books, including the newly-released “A Little Book on Form.” The event will start at 7 p.m. in the in the Multi-Activity Center, inside the Recreation Center on campus.

This event is the first of the 2017-18 “CLA Speaks” speaker series, and is sponsored by Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts and English Department. The event is free and open to the public.

About Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts
The College of Liberal Arts comprises 15 departments and two interdisciplinary programs, offering highly selective programs in the arts, humanities, communications and social sciences. Providing nearly one-third of the university’s instruction, the college serves as an essential component of liberal arts education for all students at Cal Poly. The college fosters excellence within its cutting-edge disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses while diversifying, extending and enriching the broader polytechnic environment.

About the Cal Poly English Department
The Cal Poly English Department promotes the study of literature, language and rhetoric in an effort to better understand the human condition. Undergraduate and graduate students learn to read carefully and deeply, to think critically and creatively, and to write clearly and persuasively. The department produces several publications each year that showcase student writing, including Byzantium: A Literary Annual and “Fresh Voices: Composition at Cal Poly.”

Contact: Mira Rosenthal
(805) 756-2411;

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