Talking about Sylvia Plath is like talking over loud-volume rock music in a bar. The popular "myth" and gossip surrounding Sylvia Plath and her husband, the British poet Ted Hughes, often drown out the actual voice of either poet. Sylvia Plath has been termed, perhaps erroneously, a "confessional" poet. The term "confessional" is frequently used to describe a group of poets writing in the 1950's (including Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton) who incorporated details of their personal lives in their writing.
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.
Octavio Paz, winner of the Nobel Prize in 1990, was arguably the most influential Mexican poet and essayist of the 20th century. A man of encyclopedic knowledge and vast intellectual range, he was able to bring together in his poetry four great streams of modernity: the European, the Eastern, the Mexican, and the North American.
Poet Cecilia Vicuña and children's author Richard Lewis offer a thought-provoking approach to the poetics of play, based on Vicuña's successful writing workshops in a small mountain-village school in her native Chile that helped children connect to the roots of their indigenous culture
Based on his new book, I Catch My Moment: Art and Writing by Children on the Life of Play, Richard Lewis presents a series of writing and drawing exercises that celebrate everything that plays (birds and trees, colors and air, and all the many universes beyond) using magical marbles as a colorful springboard.
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.
Readings by Martine Bellen, Cao Shuying, Charles Borkhuis, Caroline Crumpacker, Joseph Donahue, John High, Bob Holman, Charles Laughlin, Ma Lan, Rachel Levitsky, Cris Mattison, Leonard Schwartz, Sun Yi, Zhang Er and Zhang Zhen
A panel discussion on the survival and evolution of the Chinese poetic tradition in the face of the globalization of capitalism and the Chinese government's political control with Cao Shuying, Cris Mattison, Eleni Sikelianos, Sun Yi and Zhang Er.
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.
On the weekend of October 12-13, 2007, librarians from across the country will gather in Poets House's acclaimed library for the fifth Poetry in The Branches National Institute, a weekend designed to help librarians build community audiences, develop substantive poetry collections and create successful reading series in public libraries nationwide.