In celebration of the centenary of May Swenson’s birth, this reading showcases the breadth of her poetic output—from nature poems displaying her keen observation of wildlife, to exuberant, erotic love poems, to place poems recording her travels to the American Southwest, France and Italy and her residence in New York.
CAConrad writes: “(Soma)tic poetry rituals aim our attention at two basic principles: (1)Everything around us has a creative viability with the potential to spur new modes of thought and imaginative output and (2)The most vital ingredient to bringing sustainable, humane changes to our world is creativity.”
A conversation and book-signing to celebrate the publication of the retrospective catalog Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited. Jane Lazarre, Greg Tate, Kimiko Hahn, Amiri Baraka and Talvin Wilks reflect on the breadth of poet Sekou Sundiata’s accomplishments and his influence as artist, activist, educator and bandleader.
Prolific poet and novelist Stephen Dobyns discusses the life and poetry of Pulitzer-prize winner James Wright (1927-1980), one of the most influential and admired post-war poets, who was called by James Dickey “a seer with astonishing compassion for human beings.”
Poet, translator and scholar Jennifer Scappettone discusses the work of the Italian poet and musicologist Amelia Rosselli (1930-1996) — whose first book was introduced by Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1964 — and will read from her award-winning translation. Rosselli’s extraordinary upbringing as a self-defined “child of the Second World War” led her to compose among three languages and synthesize a hybrid literary heritage stretching from Dante and the troubadours through Ezra Pound and John Berryman, recasting both the tradition and the future of Italian poetry.
In the late 1920s the group of young Russian writers who called themselves OBERIU seemed poised for avant-garde stardom, but the emergence of the Stalinist state, with its repression of avant-garde art, drove them underground. The editors and translators of Alexander Vvedensky’s An Invitation for Me to Think and Daniil Kharms’s Notebooks will discuss the lives and works of these writers, whom the Times Literary Supplement, The Nation and The Believer call “as relevant today as ever.”
Robert Duncan often described himself as “bookish poet.” Drawing from sources as varied as philosopher Alfred North Whitehead's Process and Reality, the kabbalism of The Zohar, and articles from Scientific American magazine, Duncan began his journey into the “made place” of the book. Duncan’s biographer, poet Lisa Jarnot, will map out the varied intersections of Duncan’s library, his bookishness and his entrance into poetics.
Translators Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley share their collaborative translation of Diaries of Exile, by the legendary Greek poet Yannis Ritsos (1909-1990), and discuss the poet’s life in exile and powerful writing about Greek political life and history.