For Immediate Release

Poetry Foundation Announces Fall 2009 Literary Series

August 18, 2009

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce its 2009 Fall Literary Series. The schedule features poetry readings, interpretive performances, and lectures. Highlights include “Disturb the Universe,” a collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago and the Goodman Theater to present multimedia explorations of Modernism; a reading co-sponsored with the Chicago Humanities Festival featuring Billy Collins and Kay Ryan; and the 55th Annual Poetry Day with C.D. Wright.

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Wednesday, September 16, 6:00 pm
Poetry Off the Shelf: Juan Felipe Herrera

Jazz Showcase
806 South Plymouth Court
Dearborn Station
Free admission

Juan Felipe Herrera is a poet, photographer, playwright, artist, and activist. His poetry collections include 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971–2007. His book Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems was the co-winner of the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. A book signing follows.

Co-sponsored with the Guild Complex

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Thursday, September 24, 6:00 pm
Disturb the Universe: In Search of Modern

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission

Bold and evocative French writers and artists crafted Modernism in the immediate moment of contemporary life. Goodman Theatre actors cite memorable passages from Baudelaire, Breton, Mallarmé, Proust, and Rimbaud while dancers from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago improvise in response.

Co-sponsored with the Art Institute of Chicago

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Thursday, October 15, 6:00 pm
55th Annual Poetry Day: C.D. Wright

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission

Now in its 55th year, Poetry Day is one of the oldest and most distinguished reading series in the country. Inaugurated by Robert Frost, Poetry Day has featured such poets as T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, W.H. Auden, Seamus Heaney, and Adrienne Rich.

C.D. Wright was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. She has published a dozen collections; the most recent is Rising, Falling, Hovering (2008), which won the 2009 International Griffin Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and the Robert Creeley Award. A book signing follows.

Co-sponsored with the Art Institute of Chicago

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Thursday, October 22, 6:00 pm
Poetry Off the Shelf: Helen Vendler
On Robert Lowell and the Modern Legacy

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission

Helen Vendler, the A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard, discusses the poet Robert Lowell at the end of his career, when he viewed the great American Modernists Pound, Eliot, Frost, Tate, Crane, and Williams no longer as intimidating predecessors but as fellow human beings. A book signing follows the talk.

Co-sponsored with the Art Institute of Chicago

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Thursday, November 5, 6:00 pm
Disturb the Universe: Modernism across Europe

Fullerton Hall
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Free admission

Poets W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Rainer Maria Rilke, and others revolutionized poetic practices, while novelists such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Thomas Mann delved into their characters’ minds. Goodman Theatre actors bring the literary passages to life.

Co-sponsored with the Art Institute of Chicago

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Sunday, November 15, 6:00 pm
Poetry Off the Shelf: Billy Collins and Kay Ryan

Thorne Auditorium
Northwestern University School of Law
375 East Chicago Avenue

Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, free for students and teachers. Tickets will be available at www.chicagohumanities.org or via phone at 312.494.9509 starting Tuesday, September 8, for all CHF members and Monday, September 21, for the general public. A $5 handling fee applies to all orders.

Two very witty poets—one the current Poet Laureate of the United States and the other a recent holder of that office—share poems and conversation in the concluding program of the Chicago Humanities Festival Laughter series. A book signing follows.

Billy Collins’s last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. Among his honors are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry.

Characterized by subtle, surprising rhymes and nimble rhythms, Kay Ryan’s compact poems are charged with sly wit and offbeat wisdom. Her awards include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Ingram Merrill Award. In 2008, the Librarian of Congress appointed her the 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

Co-sponsored with the Chicago Humanities Festival

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Thursday, December 3, 6:00 pm
Poetry Off the Shelf: Reginald Gibbons
Odes and Fragments of Sophocles

National Hellenic Museum
801 West Adams Street, 4th Floor
Free admission

Reginald Gibbons retells the story of Oedipus, reading the five odes from Oedipus the King. Filled with sparkling language, intense and surprisingly modern feeling, and myth, the five odes are among the most beautiful poems of antiquity.

Reginald Gibbons’s most recent book of poems is Creatures of a Day (2008), a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award. His new translations of Sophocles, Selected Poems: Odes and Fragments (2008), won the Soeurette Diehl Fraser translation award from the Texas Institute of Letters. He teaches at Northwestern University.

Co-sponsored with the National Hellenic Museum

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About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.

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