Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Muse: Poets on a Theme of Bravery

... [G]ood poetry is all about taking risks. . . .
~ Alice Quinn, Introductory Remarks to "Bravery in Poetry"

On May Day, 2013, the PEN World Voices Festival presented with The Poetry Society of America and The New School an evening of readings and conversation on the theme of bravery in the creation of poetry. The event took place in New York City at The New School.

Following an introduction, seven poets offered their choice of another poet whose work exemplifies what it means to write with "passion, fearlessness, and a flash of inspiration". The entire event, which lasted one hour 14 minutes, may be heard below. Do try to listen to the individual segments (also provided below) as time permits. Each presentation (only three segments are more than 10 minutes long) is well worth your listening time (I particularly appreciated Eileen Miles's introduction to Akilah Oliver, a poet unfamiliar to me until now, and Hilton Als's reading of Brenda Shaughnessy's "I Wish I Had More Sisters").

Here are the recordings for the individual speakers, in order of presentation:

Mary Karr on Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998)

Paul Auster on George Oppen (1908-1984)

Henri Cole on James Merrill (1926-1995)

Eileen Miles on Akilah Oliver (1961-2011)

Hilton Als on Brenda Shaughnessy (Shaughnessy's most recent collection is the acclaimed Our Andromeda, a Copper Canyon Press title published in 2012. Als reviewed the book in The New Yorker; see "Brenda Shaughnessy's Ferocious Mother Poems", July 2, 2012. Here, he describes Shaughnessy as "a poet like no other.")

Recording of Opening Night Reading

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