Thursday, October 14, 2010

Poetry at the Folger

For more than four decades, Folger Poetry at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., has been offering readings and moderated discussions with such well-known and honored poets as Rita Dove, Seamus Heaney, Denise Levertov, W.S. Merwin, and Adrienne Rich. In addition to sponsoring eight to 10 poetry events, including book signings, Folger Poetry presents annual special events: a Sonnet Contest, the O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize Reading, and The Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute Reading, complete with a cake made from Dickinson's recipe for "black cake". It also operates the Poetry in Schools program and Shakespeare's Sisters, a 10-week seminar that introduces high school students to women who were poets in Shakespeare's time.

Poet Edward Hirsch kicked off this season's lineup of distinguished poets. The poets who will be completing the 2010-2011 series are:

Matthew Ladd and Rosanna Warren, October 19 — Ladd was awarded the 2009 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize for The Book of Emblems (Waywiser Press, October 2010). Rosanna Warren's Stained Glass (W.W. Norton, 1994) was awarded a Lamont Poetry Prize (formerly, Lamont Poetry Selection). She published Fables of the Self: Studies in Lyric Poetry (W.W. Norton) in 2008.

Vera Pavlova, November 8 — A best-selling poet in Russia, Pavlova published in 2009 If There Is Something to Desire; Steven Seymour's translation of the collection was published in January 2010.

Lucia Perillo, December 14 — Perillo will deliver the Birthday Tribute for Emily Dickinson. She published Inseminating the Elephant (Copper Canyon Press) in 2009.

Kevin Young, January 6 — Young's The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing (Bloomsbury) was issued this past March.

Naomi Ayala, Valerie Martinez, and J. Michael Martinez, February 28 — Washington, D.C., resident Ayala has published Wild Animals on the Moon (Curbstone, 1997). In addition to Absence, Luminescent (Four Way Books, 2nd Ed. 2010; 1st Ed., 1999) and the forthcoming And They Called It Horizon: Santa Fe Poems (Sunstone Press, November 2010), Valerie Martinez has published Each and Her (University of Arizona Press, 2010), among other work. (Martinez was Santa Fe Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2010.) J. Michael Martinez is the author of heredities (Lousiana State University Press, 2010), an Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman Award winner. The evening's reading and discussion are co-sponsored by The Poetry Society of America and Letras Latinas.

Mary Karr and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, March 21 — Memoirist Karr has published four poetry collections, including Sinners Welcome: Poems (HarperCollins, 2006). Clief-Stefanon's ]Open Interval[ (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009) was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award.

Naomi Shihab Nye, April 11 — The prolific Naomi Shihab Nye was elected in January 2010 to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. Her much-praised 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (Greenwillow Books, 2005; paperback) was a National Book Award finalist. Her most recent book is Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25 (Greenwillow Books, 2010).

Robert Hass, May 16 — The poet's most recent collection is The Apple Trees at Olema: Selected Poems & Essays 1985-2009 (HarperCollins Press, 2010).

All the events are held in the Folger Elizabethan Theatre. Tickets are $15.00 per event. A virtual box office may be accessed here.

An audio archive for Folger Poetry is here.

The Folger's address is 201 East Capitol Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003.


M.L. Gallagher said...

How I wish I were there!

What a feast of poetic delight.

Martha Marshall said...

It would be so wonderful to go to this. I love listening to poets read their own words!

Jenne' Andrews said...

As ever I'm amazed at your dedication, Maureen, to make all of this available to those outside your region-- a daunting line-up that makes me want to write a mantra for all of us: No one else can write a____ (your name) poem! xxxj

A. Jay Adler said...

I would find it a somewhat transcendent experience to eat a "black cake" made from Emily Dickinson's recipe.

Lorenzo said...

Sounds like a great series. I would especially love to see Vera Pavlova. A few months ago I did a post on her, including some of her poems and links to an interview. As a translator myself, I was particularly interested by the fact that her translator Steven Seymour is her husband. Vera has said that that there are many cases of poets married to poets, but none, as far as she knows, of a female poet and husband translator, a bond that means the poems are about experiences they have lived together. Indeed, she says the book 'If There Is Something to Desire'was "their first child together".

Maureen said...


Thank you for your very interesting note about Vera Pavlova. I'd like to learn more about her.

Lorenzo said...

If you want to see some links about her, e.g.,to the PBS Arts Blog, they are on the piece I posted on her. Since I like to keep 'self-promotion' of my blog on other people's blogs to a minimum, I won't include a link here, but if you go to my blog and do a search for her name, or hit her name tag on the side bar, you can see the piece. I was particularly pleased that Vera and Steven actually wrote a comment to me on the post. Not sure how they learned about it, as I probably had all of 10 followers at that time.

She has a fascinating history... started as a classical pianist and then switched to poetry when her first poem came to her, in the maternity ward while giving birth to her daughter. Hence her declaration that she was born as a poet while giving birth to her daughter.

Maureen said...

Lorenzo, thank you so much. I don't mind listing your post here at all; this way I won't forget it.

Here is the PBS link Lorenzo notes: