Poets House co-founder Stanley Kunitz reads and discusses one of Russia's most significant poets, in celebration of the re-release of his translations with the late Max Hayward. As an unwavering witness to the turmoil of the first half of the twentieth century, Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) still speaks eloquently to us of crisis and survival. Introduced by Morris Dickstein
"We are here in the ultimate lives of our bodies
negations of the ultimate negation
We are complete parts of the world
We rise up out of infinity like the limestone flats from the sea Like the stars up from the unknown future's
We are denials of infinity
One day we shall reach all the way there
--Göran Sonnevi, excerpted from Åby, Öland; 1982
"Emerging and veteran pioneers of the avant-garde consider the challenges and responsibilities of their role as editorial gatekeepers of the new. With Lee Ann Brown, Rachel Levitsky, Ravi Shankar and Geoffrey Young. Moderated by Jeffrey Lependorf
Editors from a range of political and aesthetic perspectives discuss how they coexist in the contemporary poetry community, and what is at stake in their choices as editors and publishers. With Ram Devineni, Alice Quinn, Martha Rhodes, and Juliana Spahr. Moderated by Rebecca Wolff
A Kashmiri-American, Agha Shahid Ali (1949–2001) was a gifted poet, an inspired translator and scholar, and a generous, ebullient spirit in the world of contemporary American poetry. Among his poetry collections are A Nostalgist's Map of America, The Country Without a Post Office and, just published this year, Rooms Are Never Finished.
Robert Bly is one of our country's most beloved poets. Over the span of his career as a writer, critic and translator, he has introduced a wide range of international poetries and practices to American poetics. His newest poetry books are Eating the Honey of Words: New & Selected Poems and The Night Abraham Called to the Stars. He recently launched a literary magazine, The Thousands.
The genius of Henry Darger—a reclusive Chicago janitor now recognized as one of the most important outsider artists of the 20th Century—is visited through the poetry of John Ashbery and critical work of novelist A.M. Homes. Readings from Darger’s epic, In the Realms of the Unreal, and an introduction by poet and art critic David Shapiro, make this event an essential companion to the museum’s comprehensive exhibition of Darger’s work.
Inspired by the feminist and civil rights movements, many 20th century women poets adopted an “I”-empowered poetics that intertwined personal and public worlds. By the end of the millennium, fragmentation and polyphony appeared in poetry as a response to the notion of “I”-dentity as constructed by class, religion, race and sexual preference. Is the exploration of a woman’s everyday “personal experience” in poetry still a political act? What are the challenges of writing a poetry that destabilizes gender and diffuses the self?