We're All So Damned Happy It Stinks!

In the spirit of Norman Bluhm and Frank O'Hara's collaborative poem-paintings, currently on view in New York Cool, participants representing several generations of New York City poetry respond to the atmosphere of camaraderie among downtown artists and poets from 1955 to the present.

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Branching Out Jacksonville: Hettie Jones on Beat Poets

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!

Correspondences: A Bilingual Reading and Conversation with Coral Bracho and Forrest Gander

Coral Bracho and her translator Forrest Gander read from Firefly Under the Tongue: Selected Poems, Bracho's first full-length collection to appear in English. Credited with changing the course of contemporary Mexican poetry with her 1982 collection El ser que va a morir, Bracho remains one of her country's most influential poets.

Branching Out Milwaukee: Martín Espada on Pablo Neruda

At each stage of his tumultuous life, Neruda wrote poems as chronicles, explaining his poetry and politics. He also wrote poems about the mysterious power of poetry itself, a power fully embraced in Chilean culture. In his talk Martín Espada will focus on the evolution of Neruda as a political poet, his struggle and exile at the hands of his own government, his triumphant return, his death in the wake of the military coup, and his redemption after democracy returned to Chile.

Branching Out Little Rock: Eavan Boland on W.B. Yeats

Looking at Yeats, though the lens of his finished poems, he can seem a historic poet, almost cast in marble. In fact Yeats was a turbulent, troubled young man who became a passionate and sorrowful older one. His love poems show that. His poems of Ireland show it too. His beautiful language, far from being a monument, is a fever chart of the intensity and hunger with which he lived his life. Ireland and a desperate, unrequited love affair drove his poetry, some of which is the greatest of the twentieth century. So did his fear of old age and his fury at the modern world.

Branching Out Jacksonville: Molly Peacock on Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay, an elfin, red-haired diva of the sonnet, published some of the wisest, sexiest, and most feminist poetry of the 20th century. From her childhood as caretaker of her siblings in Camden, Maine, to her adolescent near-miss at a national prize for "Renascence" which sparked a national poetry controversy, to her bohemian life in one of Greenwich Village's tiniest brownstones, Millay was as uncompromising in her devotion to the rules of verse as she was in her flaunting of social rules.

Branching Out Salt Lake City: Hettie Jones on Beat Poets

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!

Writers Showcase: An Evening in Battery Park City with Dave Johnson and Poets House

In advance of our move to Battery Park City later this year, Poets House, the Battery Park City Neighbors' and Parents' Association and Battery Park City Seniors join forces to present a reading by Dave Johnson, a poet and playwright whose works include Marble Shoot and Baptized to the Bone. The collaborative event will offer Battery Park City residents an introduction to our programs and services and give members of the Poets House community an opportunity to learn more about Battery Park City.

Q&A and reception will follow.

Branching Out New Orleans: Mark Doty on E. E. Cummings

E. E. Cummings accomplished the rarest of balancing acts: He managed to be both a deeply committed experimentalist and a very popular poet. How does a writer manage to be an innovator, pushing the boundaries of poetic form and content and still connect so powerfully with readers with his serious play? We'll look at the range of Cummings' achievement—his memorable and sensuous love poems, his fierce political satires, his compassionate anatomies of the human situation.

Branching Out Little Rock: Kay Ryan on Emily Dickinson

The greatest iconoclasts don't set out to. Take Emily Dickinson. She just couldn't do some things as others did them. She couldn't seem to manage to get saved despite great pressure from revival-happy Amherst; she couldn't bend her talent to write poems in any way that her time could accept as poems; she couldn't want fame if it meant publishing; she couldn't trade the intensity of her own mind for the busyness beyond her gate.

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