Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Muse: Forche Reads Dickinson

American poet Carolyn Forche is co-editor, with Duncan Wu, of Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English, 1500-2001 (W.W. Norton, January 2014), an anthology of 300 poems that speak to censorship, war, imprisonment, forced exile, torture, and slavery. 

A translator, editor, and human rights advocate, Forche also is the editor of a companion volume, Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (W.W. Norton, 1993), which includes work by more than 140 poets from five continents. Both collections are indispensable.

During a PBS interview, Forche, who last year was awarded an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, read a number of poems from the anthology, including Emily Dickinson's "They Dropped Like Flakes". Here's the reading:

Carolyn Forche on FaceBook

Roland Flint Talks with Carolyn Forche about Poetry of Witness (Video)

Robyn Creswell, "Poetry in Extremis: Looking at 'The Poetry of Witness: The English Tradition, 1500-2001', The New Yorker, February 13, 2014 (This is an excellent essay. Creswell is poetry editor of The Paris Review and teaches at Brown University.)

1 comment:

the sad red earth said...

"They perished in the seamless grass."

Coincidentally, just last week I read Forche's "The Colonel" to a class of students completely untutored poetry, filled with notions of its riddle-like complexity or flowery sentiment. The poetry of witness was something they weren't prepared for, which, of course, was why I read it. "Very disturbing" said the first student who spoke.