Pulitzer-winning historian Robert Caro delivers Tate Lecture Oct. 29

Award-winning historian and author Robert A. Caro is at SMU Tuesday, Oct. 29 for the 2013-14 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. He will give The Anita and Truman Arnold Lecture at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

Caro is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian for his biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson. His piece on Moses, The Power Broker, was his first book and received praise from many organizations and publications – notably TIME Magazine, which called it “one of the hundred top nonfiction books of all time.” His biography of Lyndon Johnson is split into four volumes, the most recent installment of which is The Passage of Power.

Follow Robert A. Caro on Twitter 

Image via SMU Tate
Robert A. Caro (Image via SMU Tate)

In a recent interview with The Dallas Morning News, Caro explained that there are numerous books focusing on the assassination of Kennedy but none look at Johnson’s perspective. The United States lost a president on that day but it also created one; Caro focuses on this angle in his books.

“In The Passage of Power, I wanted to look at that day from Johnson’s point of view,” Caro says. “There was something magnificent in the way he took over. There are about 11 weeks between when a president is elected and when he takes office. Johnson had only two hours and six minutes.”

Read the full interview at DallasNews.com

In 2010, Caro received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. “Caro has a unique place among American political biographers,” The Boston Globe said. “He has become, in many ways, the standard by which his fellows are measured.” A great deal of research goes into his books, including a move from New York to D.C. to live where Johnson grew up; this in-depth work has landed him more than 40 awards and honors throughout his lifetime.

Image via Robet Caro
Four volume biography of Lyndon Johnson (Image via Robet Caro website)

Caro was born and raised in New York City and attended Princeton for his undergraduate studies in English. He went on to become a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and was once an investigative reporter for Newsday.

Tuesday’s lecture takes place less than a month before the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death, and Caro will speak on the assassination and the events following as Johnson took over the presidency. The evening lecture is sold out, but SMU students may attend for free with their University ID if seats become available; meet in the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m.

Caro will answer questions from University community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. The Forum is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place.

To ask Caro a question via Twitter, send a tweet to @SMUtate with @RobertACaro and the hashtag #SMUtate.

Visit the SMU Tate Distinguished Lecture Series homepage at smu.edu/tateseries

Jack Myers’ final book nominated for Pulitzer and Pushcart Prizes

Jack MyersThe Memory of Water — the final book by late SMU creative writing professor and past Poet Laureate of Texas Jack Myers — is a nominee for 2012 Pulitzer and Pushcart Prizes. The honors inspired a Portable Poetry Workshop celebration in Myers’ honor Nov. 29.

The free event on what would have been Myers’ 70th birthday was held at Paperbacks Plus in Lakewood and was sponsored by the nonprofit literary center The Writer’s Garret, which Myers helped create in 1994 with his wife, Thea Temple, and several others.

Pulitzer Prize winners for works published this year will be announced in April 2012 and honored at a luncheon in late May. Pushcart Prizes, which honor the best literary works published by small presses, also will be announced next spring.

Cover of 'The Memory of Water' by Jack Myers“Jack’s work has always been a marvel,” says William Olsen, editor of the New Issues Poetry and Prose division at Western Michigan University, publisher of The Memory of Water. “His poems are exceptional for how they can look at hard losses with a special wisdom that allows for yearning and wonder.”

Myers served the English Department in SMU’s Dedman College for more than 30 years until his death in 2009. He wrote hundreds of highly praised poems and eight books about poetry, including The Longman Dictionary of Poetic Terms and The Portable Poetry Workshop. He also edited anthologies and 10 collections of poetry. He received two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and was winner of the National Poetry Series in 1985.


After I am gone and the ache begins
to cease 
and the slow erosion I felt,
being older than you, invades you too,
you’ll come to see that an image of the desert
is the memory of water, like remembering.

When we were walking in beautiful Barcelona
and you said you thought the trees were gods
because they were rooted in earth
and flew in the air and magically made food
out of light and made the air we breathe.

— Jack Elliott Myers, “The Memory of Water”

> Find more about Myers at SMU News