Branching Out New Orleans: Elizabeth Alexander on Gwendolyn Brooks

Since she began publishing her tight lyrics of Chicago’s great South Side in the 1940s, Gwendolyn Brooks has been one of the most influential American poets of the twentieth century. Her poems distill the very best aspects of Modernist style with the sounds and shapes of various African-American forms and idioms. Brooks is a consummate portraitist who found worlds in the community she wrote out of, and her innovations as a sonneteer remain an inspiration to more than one generation of poets who have come after her.

Passwords: David Meltzer on West Coast Beats

David Meltzer offers an insider's view of the Beat communities of Los Angeles and San Francisco in the late 1950s with vivid accounts of his friendships with Diane DiPrima, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure and others.

Revealing and Concealing: The Self in Poetry with Rachel M. Simon

Poets often struggle with the issue of how much of the self to reveal in a poem. This workshop is an opportunity to explore different modes of self-revelation and restraint and to discover ways of combining self-expression with poetic discipline.

Poetry in the Presence of Sculpture with Brenda Iijima, Jill Magi, Sawako Nakayasu & Srikanth Reddy

Four poets share work that resonates with the renowned Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) in the exquisite museum and rock garden dedicated to his art.

Poetry in the Children's Room: Floating Valentines-The Red Balloon

Join us for a heartwarming Poets House tradition, the screening of Albert Lamorisse's immortal film The Red Balloon (1956), followed by the creation of our own floating valentines.

Branching Out Fresno: Jane Hirshfield on Bashō

Matsuo Bashō, wandering the back-country fields, mountains, and cities of 17th-century Japan and of his own life, distilled the immensities of human experience into single images of striking depth and feeling. Bashō offered the seventeen-syllable haiku as an evocative and democratic form for capturing the realizations of ordinary existence. His brief poems—sometimes sorrowful, sometimes humorous, always acutely perceptive—revolutionized and transfigured not only the poetry of his own time but current American and world poetry as well.

Branching Out NYC: Robert Pinsky on Robert Frost & William Carlos Williams

The former US Poet Laureate explores the shared territory of two major 20th century poets, Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams, whose distinct voices are unified by a common interest in the American idiom and the construction of the American memory.

Strong Is Your Hold: An 80th Birthday Tribute to Galway Kinnell

Friends and fellow writers join the beloved bard Galway Kinnell in a reading that honors his profound impact on generations of poets.

Presented in conjunction with Blue Flower Arts, Cooper Union, Houghton Mifflin, NYU Creative Writing Program and the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y.

"I am your own way of looking at things" The Poetic Practice of William Stafford

For writers aged 12–18

For fifty years, William Stafford wrote every morning before others were awake, welcoming whatever his imagination offered, and using this attitude as the basis of his poems. In a workshop led by poets Naomi Shihab Nye and Kim Stafford, we will look at William Stafford poems that exemplify this process and try on some of his writing techniques.

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