For several decades, Brenda Hillman has been exploring poetic form and perception in her tetralogy on the classical elements-- earth, air, water, fire. She discusses ecopoetics, spiritual discovery and activism in her latest volume, Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire.
On the eve of what would have been the beloved Irish poet and translator’s 75th birthday, poet Tom Sleigh presents a discussion of the use of description in Seamus Heaney’s (1939-2013) masterful poems, exploring and celebrating Heaney’s humane marveling at the life of the senses and the natural surfaces of the world.
A self-proclaimed “lingualisualist” rooted in the languages of sight and sound, Edwin Torres leads an exploration of the tools poets use to extend past the seeming edges of language and to articulate the rich “between” spaces – between sound and definition, body and nation – that drive our poetry in hidden, powerful ways.
In this landmark piece choreographed by Kathryn Roszak and performed by Danse Lumière, a company recognized for adapting great works of literature to the stage through the fusion of dance, music, and theater, dancers echo Tranströmer’s unique collages of everyday narrative, interrupted by flashes of strong emotion and penetrated by a palpable sense of the world’s beauty.
Visual artist Jess (1923–2004) and poet Robert Duncan (1919–1988) were one of the most fascinating artistic couples of the 20th century. After they met in San Francisco in 1950 to Duncan's death almost forty years later, their work became increasingly intertwined, their dense, allusive creations permeating one another - and inspiring this discussion.
Thirteenth-century Persian poet Rumi is now the most popular poet in the United States. In this event, leading Rumi interpreter Coleman Barks, reads his beloved versions of the Sufi poet’s verse, biographer Brad Gooch shares research into Rumi’s lived experience, and poet Anne Waldman reflects on Rumi’s contribution to poetry’s ecstatic tradition.
The author of many collections in Arabic, including the newly translated Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan reads from and discusses his visceral, narrative poetics with fellow poet and translator Fady Joudah.Award-winning poet Mark Doty introduces the pair.
“Clifton’s poems invite meditation and return” wrote Obama inaugural poet and Yale professor Elizabeth Alexander about Lucille Clifton (1936-2010). “Time and again, she made luminous poems premised on clear truth-telling, but always with a twist, and with space for evocation and mystery.” Alexander discusses this beloved author, whose luminous poems and dynamic life impacted our poetry and our culture.