The Poetics of Walking panelistsBrenda Coultas, Lytle Shaw, Jonathan Skinner and Stephen Vincent lead writers and artists on an urban poetry stroll through Lower Manhattan, with illuminating historical information and a series of creative exercises en route. Participants are asked to meet at Poets House and to bring writing and/or drawing materials.
In this foray into the flâneur tradition, panelists address the poetry that emerges from the fundamental act of walking, with insights from such immortal amblers as Whitman, Baudelaire, O'Hara and other peripatetic poets.
What are Langston's lessons? An examination of the work of Langston Hughes will help you learn more about America. It will help you explore the tough tapestry of race. His work will make you look into the mirror and see yourself. Are you ready? Who was this man who taught us how to dream? The life and work of Langston Hughes echoes the social transformation of America from the 1920s to the early 1960s. How did he put blues and jazz into his words? What was his secret? Come dance with the dreamer and discover how he changed literature.
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!
Spend an afternoon discovering the poetries of the world with two back-to-back readings by major writers from Mexico, Iraq, South Africa, the Basque Country, Denmark and Portugal—all against the backdrop of the Poets House Showcase, an exhibit of over 2,000 books of poetry published this year in the United States.
Reading by Homero Aridjis, Elizabeth Macklin, Kirmen Uribe & Nabeel Yasin
In 1949 Harvard undergraduate John Ashbery wrote to Kenneth Koch about the poetry of a fellow student, Frank O'Hara: "I think we have a major competitor." Shortly thereafter Ashbery sent Koch a manuscript of O'Hara's poems, which Koch found not very interesting. But he took it with him when he went to France on a Fulbright and, when he read the manuscript again on a train ride through Austria, he was staggered by its dazzling energy. Thus began an inspiring, competitive literary friendship that helped both Koch and O'Hara become two of the greatest American poets of the 20th century.
Paul Muldoon gives a close reading of Robert Frost's "Directive", a poem that seems capable of standing at the end of almost every trail in the rest of Frost's own work, but also of helping a reader find a way through the densities of 20th, perhaps even 21st, century poetry.
A joint initiative with the Poetry Society of America, Branching Out: Poetry for the 21st Century is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.