In his talk, Carl Phillips will explore the ways in which Whitman is among the first to stake out forbidden territory (race, masculinity, morality) for American poetry and to find a form that persuasively enacts the poem's content. He will also consider the ways in which Whitman's poems continue to have a contemporary resonance and to illustrate what it has meant and continues to mean, on so many levels, to be American, for better and for worse.
Who were the Beat Poets? Why are they "beat" and what does that mean? A look at their work, and the decades of the fifties and sixties in which they wrote, will explain why they remain iconic figures in American poetry. Their writing was shocking to some yet celebrated by others. Contemporary reaction to their poems was vociferous and divided. Today they continue to be notorious, though there is growing interest in their lively, noisy, exciting work. The Beat goes on!
Maxine Kumin, whose meticulous observations of nature and human nature have been compared with Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Frost, will offer her perspective on all things poetical and political in conversation with poets Sharon Olds and Karen Swenson.
Funded by the New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities
Steps away from the future home of Poets House, an impressive array of poets from across the country converge to celebrate the arrival of summer, with words and music resounding over the Hudson River at sunset.
What are Langston's lessons? An examination of the work of Langston Hughes will help you learn more about America. It will help you explore the tough tapestry of race. His work will make you look into the mirror and see yourself. Are you ready? Who was this man who taught us how to dream? The life and work of Langston Hughes echoes the social transformation of America from the 1920s to the early 1960s. How did he put blues and jazz into his words? What was his secret? Come dance with the dreamer and discover how he changed literature.
This unforgettable literary pilgrimage over the bridge that inspired Hart Crane, Walt Whitman, and generations of poets, begins near City Hall, pauses under Roebling's famous arches and culminates in a reading at Brooklyn's historic Fulton Ferry Landing. The evening concludes with a festive dinner in DUMBO. Proceeds from the Poetry Walk benefit Poets House.
In this talk, Vijay Seshadri will examine the origins and the scope of Bishop's visionary ambitions, her complicated, paradoxical relationship to the religious traditions that shaped her thought, and, finally, her ability to expose, in small poems and large, the fundamental questions underlying our experience.
A joint initiative with the Poetry Society of America, Branching Out: Poetry for the 21st Century is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Cultural theorists Wayne Koestenbaum and R. M. Vaughan engage in a conversation about queer identity and literature through a fascinating exploration of E. A. Lacey, whose 1965 collection, Forms of Loss, was the first openly gay book of poetry published in Canada.