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.
In his talk on Federico García Lorca's life and work, Edward Hirsch will explore Lorca's artistic sources, including native Andalusian music and the metaphorical style characteristic of the avant-garde Hispanic literary movement Ultraísmo, the intellectual community in which Lorca became a youthful prodigy, his complicated friendships with Salvador Dali and Luis Buñel, his place in Spanish literary history, his emotional and intellectual crises, and how he came to write what Hirsch considers to be one of the greatest books of poems ever written about New York City, Poet
San Francisco poet Ronald Johnson (1935-1998), was the author of several books, among them the metaphysical ARK, a book-length poem dedicated to "the radiant structural beauty and mystery of the universe," in the words of Robert Duncan.