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Audio Roundup: Epic Voices & Tributes to Influential Poets

Celebrate National Poetry Month by listening to recordings of recent Poets House events, featuring panels on the legacies of seminal poets like June Jordan and programs from our ongoing Epic Voices series that looks at long poems and epic traditions, including talks and readings by acclaimed poet Dorianne Laux and legendary New York School poet Bernadette Mayer. Please settle in and enjoy this selection of fascinating, thought-provoking readings and discussion.

  • Poet and editor Kwame Dawes offered a rich addition to our Epic Voices series, presenting his recently reissued epic poem Prophets. He also discussed Caribbean poetry and the epic, exploring the work of Dionne Brand, Kamau Brathwaite, David Dabydeen, Derek Walcott, and others.
  • Our Epic Voices series continued as poet Dorianne Laux, acclaimed for her own hybrid lyric-narrative works exploring sex, love, and working-class America, discussed long poems by two of her favorite poets: Deborah Digges and Larry Levis.
  • Poets and educators Kay Ulanday Barrett, Taiyo Na, Sofía Snow, and Bill Zavatsky considered June Jordan’s groundbreaking essay “For the Sake of a People’s Poetry: Walt Whitman and the Rest of Us” in our second annual panel celebrating and honoring Jordan’s work. This program was co-sponsored by the June Jordan Estate and presented as part of What is It, Then, Between Us? Poetry & Democracy, the third annual initiative of the Poetry Coalition.
  • New York School poet and artist Bernadette Mayer joined poet and former director of the Poetry Project Stacy Szymaszek to talk daily writing and the long poem. They explored Szymaszek’s trilogy of poetic journals and Mayer’s Midwinter Day, Studying Hunger, and Works and Days as part of our Epic Voices series.
  • “A man of wider and deeper knowledge than almost anyone I have known,” says Pierre Joris of Gerrit Lansing. Lansing was a poet, occult scholar, and confidant to fellow Gloucester resident Charles Olson. Poets and writers who knew Lansing shared remembrances and honored his work.
  • And finally, another absorbing Epic Voices event: cartoonist Matt Madden investigated the relationship between long-form poetic traditions and the compositions of the avant-garde French writing group Oulipo and the contemporary OuBaPo comics movement it inspired.

We’ll continue to update you on new content in our audio archive. In the meantime, we invite you to explore some of our wonderful older recordings, such as Colleen J. McElroy discussing how you can recreate the home you thought you knew, and Syrian playwright, poet, and filmmaker Liwaa Yazji talking about the process of becoming a poet. Dive in!


Posted In: Audio Roundup