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Poets House

2017: Passwords: Sholeh Wolpé on Attar

Written in Persia in the 12th century, The Conference of the Birds by Attar remains a central work in the history of literature, in which the birds of the world have gathered in search of their ideal king. In celebration of her new translation, award-winning poet Sholeh Wolpé takes audiences on a journey through the soul’s search for meaning as she rediscovers the light of Attar, considered by Rumi to be the master of Sufi mystic poetry.

2017: Huddled Masses: Alicia Ostriker on Immigration

Award-winning poet and critic Alicia Ostriker examines the links between poetry and America’s origins as a nation of immigrants and as a beacon of equality, intended to be open and welcoming to all.

2017: Passwords: Margaret Randall on Cuban Poetry

Feminist poet, photographer, and social activist Margaret Randall takes audiences on a linguistic journey through Cuba. Editor of Only the Road ⁄ Solo el Camino: Eight Decades of Cuban Poetry, the most complete bilingual anthology of Cuban poetry available to an English readership, Randall explores Cuban culture and landscape through its poetry and her own photographic documentation.

2017: Canadian Mosaic: A Reading and Conversation

Canada’s foremost poets Colin Browne, Daphne Marlatt, and former Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate Fred Wah read from their work, exemplifying the contemporary landscape of Canadian poetry. Poets share insight into how their diverse backgrounds as filmmakers, novelists, and scholars inform their own poetics and contribute to the diverse tapestry of Canadian literature. Moderated by Paolo Javier.

2016: Beyond Bhakti: Contemporary Spiritual Poetics Across Europe and The Americas

Join us for a reading and discussion of devotional poetry gleaned across expanses of time and geography with Ravi Shankar, Drunken Boat’s founding editor. Clare Cavanagh reads new work and discusses the articulation of spirit in the Eastern European tradition and the role translation plays. Ellen Doré Watson reads and discusses her translations of the Brazilian poet Adélia Prado. Patty Crane discusses the mysticism at the edges of poet Tomas Tranströmer’s work.

2016: Bhakti: The Art of Devotion

Archana Venkatesan, Rafiq Kathwari, and Ravi Shankar engage in a discussion concerning the poetics of Bhakti, the Sanskrit word meaning “to participate in, to share in, and to have love and devotion for.” Together, they examine Indian art and spirituality, spanning the linguistic worlds of Tamil and Urdu literature, and how it manifests in their own work in translation. Join Poets House as we unpack the complex prosody, rich cultural history, and rhetorical nuance of Indian verse.

2016: Love, H: The Letters of Hettie Jones & Helene Dorn

“We’d fled the norm for women then, because to live it would have been a kind of death,” writes Hettie Jones in Love, H, a selection from the forty-year correspondence between poet Jones and sculptor Helene Dorn. Revealing the intimacy of lifelong friends, these letters explore the battlegrounds of women’s rights, tenants’ rights, marriage, motherhood, and a shared past that kept the two irrevocably connected in the Beat bohemia of the 1960s.

2016: Black Love: A Reading and Craft Talk with Joshua Bennett (Full Audio)

Weighing the work of Thylias Moss, Frank Ocean, Robin Coste Lewis, and George Moses Horton, among others, against Thomas Jefferson’s claim in Notes on The State of Virginia that, “among the blacks is misery enough, God knows, but no poetry,” poet and scholar Joshua Bennett explores the politics of black love throughout the African diasporic literary tradition.

2016: Colleen J. McElroy on making a strong poetic line

Colleen McElroy answers an emerging poet's question about how to create a strong line of poetry as part of the question and answer session after her talk Kinship: Poetic Memoir with Colleen J. McElroy
(Approx. 11 mins)

2016: Chen Ho Hua (Iowa International Writing Program Reading)

Poet Chen Ho Hua (Taiwan) reads his work - and sings - along with translators from Tom Sleigh's class at the Hunter College MFA program as part of the 2016 Iowa International Writing Program Reading. Introduced by Director of the Iowa International Writing Program Christopher Merrill
(Approx 12 mins.)

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