What a Poem Knows: The Spellbinding Clarity of Art with Diane Ackerman

"What truths––based on intuition, craftsmanship and experience––does poetry teach about the world? Diane Ackerman explores the act of artistic creation and the sensibility of the poet, revealing how poets problem-solve to create works of art."

Passwords: Helen Vendler on Shakespeare's Sonnets

How do poets find symbolic forms for ideas? How might a poet contrast the Platonic triad––the Good, the True and the Beautiful––with the Christian Trinity? How might a poet describe in fourteen lines the corruption of the world? To address these questions, Helen Vendler revisits one of the greats.

Poetry, Literacy and Democracy

All art forms serve both to express and to transgress cultural values––to articulate and to challenge the ideas that shape a society. Panelists discuss the special role that poetry plays in the development of literacy, the formation and preservation of the democratic ideal, and the give and take of public dialogue in an electronic and media-saturated age.

The Metaphysical Streetcar Conductor

A celebration of The Metaphysical Streetcar Conductor, a collection of translations of Luciano Erba’s poems by British and American poets, with the poet’s participation.

Vietnam: A Culture of Poetry

For thousands of years, poetry has been an integral part of the Vietnamese culture. Rural people who could not read or write composed oral lyric poetry, while kings wrote for their intellectual recreation. This seminar considers the literary tradition of a culture where, even today, poetry is used in courting, gambling and political debate.

Watermark: Vietnamese American Poetry and Prose

To coincide with the publication of the landmark anthology Watermark, co-editor Monique T. D. Truong moderates a panel discussion on the development of a new generation of Vietnamese American poets. Readings will be followed by a book signing and reception.

Shinkichi Takahashi: Modern Zen Poet

Shinkichi Takahashi (1901 - 1987), who first gained recognition as a Dadaist poet and novelist, was one of the foremost Zen poets of this century. Poet and translator Lucien Stryk leads a discussion of Takahashi’s major works and their Zen content.

Passwords: Jean Valentine on Osip Mandelstam

Mandelstam, who died in a transit camp in Vladivostok in 1938, has been called the greatest Russian poet of the modern period. Jean Valentine reads and discusses his work, with an emphasis on the late poems.


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