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.
A conversation and book-signing to celebrate the publication of the retrospective catalog Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited. Moderated by Malaika Adero, Jane Lazarre, Greg Tate, Kimiko Hahn, Amiri Baraka and Talvin Wilks reflect on the breadth of poet Sekou Sundiata’s accomplishments and his influence as artist, activist, educator and bandleader.
A reading by the 10 poets in Poets House’s second annual Emerging Poets Fellowship program: Mahogany Browne, Jessica Elsaesser, Paul Hlava, Rosamond King, Elsbeth Pancrazi, Montana Ray, Andrew Seguin, Xeňa Stanislavovna Semjonová, Purvi Shah and Ocean Vuong (Full Audio, approx. 1 hr. 20 mins)
In celebration of the centenary of May Swenson’s birth, this reading showcases the breadth of her poetic output—from nature poems displaying her keen observation of wildlife, to exuberant, erotic love poems, to place poems recording her travels to the American Southwest, France and Italy and her residence in New York.
Born in Syria in 1930, Adonis is one of the most revered and influential poets of the Arabic-speaking world. In honor of his 80th birthday, Adonis reads from and discusses the newly published translation into English by (Khaled Mattawa) of his Selected Poems. Adonis is joined by poets and translators Marilyn Hacker, Pierre Joris and Lawrence Joseph. (Full Audio, approx. 1 hr)
Mahogany Browne, Taylor Mali, James Merenda and Jeanann Verlee, representatives from three of New York City’s most prominent poetry slam series, discuss and demonstrate the poetry slam and what makes a poem not just “come alive” in performance but score well with judges.
San Francisco poet Aaron Shurin considers the question “What is prosody?” in light of the current movement away from meter and traditional forms, exploring some of the ways in which poetic craft continues to make meaning in contemporary poetry. (Full Audio, approx. 1 hr)
Renowned scholar and critic Marjorie Perloff discusses American composer and music theorist John Cage (1912-1992), exploring his poetic texts, and looking at his role as a central precursor of Conceptualist poetics. (Full Audio, approx. 1 hour)