In his talk "The Vertical Elizabeth Bishop", poet Vijay Seshadri examines the origins and the scope of Bishop's visionary ambitions, her complicated, paradoxical relationship to the religious traditions that shaped her thought, and, finally, her ability to expose, in small poems and large, the fundamental questions underlying our experience.
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge was described by poet Jackson Mac Low as “neither objectivist nor subjectivist but a poet of the whole consciousness.” Born in Beijing, she emerges from diverse influences, from the artistic scene of her rural New Mexico home to the New York School and Language poets. Her over a dozen books of poetry include artistic collaborations with her husband Richard Tuttle and visual artist Kiki Smith. Berssenbrugge is joined by University of California Berkeley scholar Charles Altieri.
Internationally known for his “talk pieces”— improvisational blends of comedy, story and social commentary that have been described as a mix of Mark Twain and Gertrude Stein, poet David Antin will explore how language can be regarded as essentially political.
Poet and translator Dick Davis expands our understanding of the period that gave rise to such voices as Rumi and Omar Khayyam by exploring several poems from the canon of Medieval Persian literature, including the Sufi allegory The Conference of Birds.
Poet Patricia Spears Jones discusses the life and work of Lorenzo Thomas (1944-2005), a pivotal figure in the Black Arts Movement and author of such poetry books as Chances are Few and Dancing on Main Street.
Copper Canyon Press editor Sam Hamill introduces readings by Heather Allen, Erin Belieu, Stephen Berg, Timothy Liu, Jane Miller, Karen Swenson, Elaine Terranova in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Copper Canyon Press and the release of the anthology The Gift of Tongues, chronicling one of the finest poetry presses in the nation.
Poet Agha Shahid Ali reads the poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984), considered the greatest Urdu poet of the second half of this century, examining his use of classical forms such as the ghazal, and discuss the difficulties of translation.