Passwords: Farnoosh Fathi on Joan Murray

A radical metaphysical poet, Joan Murray studied with W.H. Auden, who selected her work as the winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize in 1947, just a few years after she died from a congenital heart condition at age 24. Poet Farnoosh Fathi, who edited Murray’s Drafts, Fragments, and Poems, will share the archival process of producing the book and discuss Murray’s influence on poets like John Ashbery.

Iowa International Writing Program

Poets House partners with the Iowa International Writing Program, which each year brings exceptional writers from around the world to the U.S., creating new audiences for their work. This poetry reading features Tehila Hakimi of Israel, Aušra Kaziliūnaitė of Lithuania, Bejan Matur of Turkey, Umar Timol of Mauritius, and Chandramohan Sathyanathan of India.

Epic Voices: Scottish Epic meets American Western with MacGillivray

A worldwide performer, MacGillivray (née Kirsten Norrie) is also the author of three collections of poetry, including the forthcoming The Gaelic Book of the Dead. Her work traces imaginative pathways between the mythologies of American and Scottish history, from the fake epic bard Ossian (invented by 18th-century Scottish poet James Macpherson) to the 19th-century American West to Jim Morrison and beyond. Join MacGillivray for this dynamic talk and performance.

Epic Voices: James Merill’s The Book of Ephraim with Langdon Hammer & Stephen Yenser

On the eve of Halloween, join Langdon Hammer, James Merrill’s biographer, and Stephen Yenser, Merrill’s literary executor, and as they consider James Merrill’s The Book of Ephraim, which he composed via experiments with a Ouija board and became the first book of his epic trilogy The Changing Light at Sandover. Released for the first time as a stand-alone volume, The Book of Ephraim continues to be a touchstone for diverse poetic practices, from chance operations to occult poetics.

Epic Voices: Jos Charles on Geoffrey Chaucer

Author of the new National Poetry Series winning collection feeld, which mines Medieval English for experimental purposes, Jos Charles presents the work of 14th century poet Geoffrey Chaucer. This talk will center on Middle English poetics and the poem-as-vision in House of Fame, a three-book unfinished dream poem that allegorizes the creation of celebrity status.

Epic Voices: Forrest Gander on C. D. Wright’s One With Others

Poet and translator Forrest Gander discusses One with Others, penned by the prolific poet C.D. Wright (1949 – 2016) as a book-length poetic documentation of the civil rights struggle in small town Arkansas that incorporates oral histories, hymns, newspaper accounts, and interviews.

Epic Voices: Oceanic Percussion & Cubanology with Omar Pérez

Cuban poet and musician Omar Pérez gives a talk and performance on “oceanic” epic form, taking up this trope via Afro-Cuban drumming as a medium for composition, accompaniment, and whatever may fall between. He will also read from his new book Cubanology, a book of days that Bob Holman likens to “a global 24 hours that stretches time to eternity and consolidates place…with a polyglot sensibility that seems bent on unifying all languages.”

Passwords: A Tribute to Fay Chiang with Bob Holman, Patricia Spears Jones, & Jessica Hagedorn

A poet and community activist who supported the diverse cultures of Chinatown and the Lower East Side through education and artistic initiatives, including her stint as the Executive Director of the Basement Workshop—the first Asian-American multidisciplinary cultural organization in New York City—Fay Chiang was a beloved and transformative figure of New York City’s downtown. Participants will read from Chiang’s writing and remember her life and work.

Epic Voices: Contemporary Diné Poetry & The Epic Tradition with Sherwin Bitsui

This talk by Sherwin Bitsui is a contemplation of sources and continuity in contemporary Diné poetry that considers how Navajo poets utilize traditional devices as foundation. Bitsui will also present his latest work, the long poem Dissolve. Bitsui is also the author of Flood Song and Shapeshift. He teaches for the MFA in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Name Me a Word: Indian Poetics with Meena Alexander, Ram Devineni, Vijay Seshadri & Arundhathi Subramaniam

This evening celebrates the release of the landmark anthology Name Me a Word: Indian Writers Reflect on Writing, edited by Meena Alexander, with readings of poetry and conversation that illuminate contemporary and 20th century writing from India and the Indian Diaspora.


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