For Immediate Release

Poetry Foundation Announces Winter/Spring 2013 Programming

Featured readers include Natasha Trethewey, Les Murray, and Campbell McGrath

January 10, 2013

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is pleased to present the schedule for its Winter/Spring 2013 Literary Series. Highlights this season include a reading by current United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, a rare stateside appearance by Australian poet Les Murray, a new staged reading directed by Bernard Sahlins featuring poetry and comedy, and an appearance by poet Campbell McGrath. In our gallery, we are very pleased to show “Joan Mitchell: At Home in Poetry,” an exhibition of the abstract expressionist painter’s work, letters, and other ephemera. This is the first solo exhibition of Mitchell’s work in Chicago, and the first to consider her relationship to poetry and the city itself. Most Poetry Foundation events are free on a first come, first served basis. Doors generally open 30 minutes before a program. Programs typically last one hour. The full schedule is available at poetryfoundation.org/programs/events.

 

Events

 

Thursday, January 31, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Drinking Gourd: Poetry, Song, Dance
Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Join us for a celebration of words, music, and dance as we help launch The Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize Chapbook Series. Renowned poet Ed Roberson, author of eight books of poetry and winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, joins poet and playwright Kristiana Rae Colón, winner of the inaugural Drinking Gourd Prize. The evening will include readings from Roberson’s Closest Pronunciation and Colón’s promised instruments; live vocal performances of the great coded songs of the Underground Railroad and other African-American spirituals by Timothy McNair, bass at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University; and contemporary dance with original choreography by Devin Buchanan of Giordano Dance Chicago.

The Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize is a first-book award for emerging poets of color, combining the efforts of Northwestern’s Poetry and Poetics Colloquium and Northwestern University Press in celebrating and publishing works of lasting cultural value and literary excellence. For more information visit poetry.northwestern.edu

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Tuesday, February 5, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Natasha Trethewey

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Thursday, February 7, 6:30 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Natasha Trethewey

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Springfield, IL
Free admission

When she was named the 19th United States Poet Laureate in June, 2012, Natasha Trethewey was among the youngest poets appointed to the post, the first African American since Rita Dove, and the first Southerner since Robert Penn Warren held the office in the 1980s. Born in Gulfport, Mississippi, she is the author of four collections of poetry, including Native Guard, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and Thrall, her latest volume of verse. She has also published Beyond Katrina: A Mediation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and has a memoir coming out this year. Librarian of Congress James Billington has written that Trethewey’s poems “dig beneath the surface of history—personal and communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles we all face.” Native Guard, for example, draws its title from an unsung regiment of African American soldiers who were commissioned to watch over Confederate prisoners of war, while some of the poems in Thrall explore mixed-race marriage from both cultural and personal perspectives. Among Trethewey’s many other honors are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Cave Canem Prize for her first collection, Domestic Work. Trethewey holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University.

Co-sponsored with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

 

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Saturday, February 9, 7 PM
Sunday, February 10, 3 PM
Poetry & Music
And the Poet Sang: The Heart’s Place with Jamie O’Reilly and Michael P. Smith

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

And the Poet Sang: The Heart’s Place features celebrated duo Jamie O’Reilly and Michael P. Smith performing songs of love—love of place, heart, and homeland. They will perform original song-settings of poems by luminaries ranging from Gabriela Mistral and Frederico García Lorca to Anne Carson and ancient Irish and Chinese writers. Material from Smith and O’Reilly’s folk cabarets, Pasiones: Songs of the Spanish Civil War and Hello Dali: From the Sublime to the Surreal, will also be featured.

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Thursday, February 14, 10:30 AM – 1 PM
Poetry Out Loud
Chicago Regional Finals
Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Champions from Chicago high schools recite poems for the chance to represent Illinois at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, DC, in April. Last year 365,000 students around the country participated. More than $100,000 in scholarship awards and school stipends is at stake.

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Wednesday, February 27, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Fulcrum Point Goes Ivy League
Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

In its ongoing Ivy League series, Chicago’s endlessly innovative Fulcrum Point New Music Project explores poetry and music associated with Princeton University. The impressive roster of poets who attended or have taught at Princeton includes John Berryman, W. S. Merwin, Galway Kinnell, C. K. Williams, Jane Hirshfield, Paul Muldoon, Susan Wheeler, Michael Dickman, and this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith. Princeton composers Steve Mackey, Andy Akiho, and Andrea Mazziarello join in this multimedia event of music, electronics, percussion, and drama.

Co-sponsored with Fulcrum Point New Music Project

 

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Sunday, March 24, 3 PM
Monday, March 25, 7 PM
Poetry on Stage
Poetry as Comedy

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

From W. H. Auden to Lewis Carroll, John Updike to Ogden Nash, Ezra Pound to Dorothy Parker, some of our brightest poetic minds have enjoyed using their skills in works designed to tickle our funny bones. This program will bushwhack through poetry in English, bouncing from Robert Lowell to Edward Lear, Emily Dickinson to Wallace Stevens, and Elizabeth Bishop to Edna St. Vincent Millay. Under the direction of Bernard Sahlins, a trio of Chicago’s finest actors will bring us an evening of poems and laughter.

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Saturday, April 13, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Poesía en Abril with Coral Bracho and Juan Carlos Mestre

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Now a spring tradition in Chicago, the sixth edition of Poesía en Abril is presented by contratiempo and DePaul University. For the second consecutive year, the Poetry Foundation hosts a special festival recognition night highlighting the influential and inspiring work of two poets who have made significant contributions to Spanish-language poetry. Coral Bracho, who has been compared to John Ashbery, has received the Aguacalientes Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches in Mexico City. Juan Carlos Mestre was awarded the National Poetry Prize by Spain’s Ministry of Culture for La casa roja. Also an acclaimed visual artist, has exhibited internationally. The evening will feature visual poetry and bilingual readings.

Co-sponsored with contratiempo, Instituto Cervantes, and DePaul University

 

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Wednesday, April 17, 6:30 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Marge Piercy and Ira Wood
Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Marge Piercy is the author of eighteen poetry collections and seventeen novels, and her work has been translated into nineteen languages. Her latest books are Pesach for the Rest of Us: Making the Passover Seder Your Own (2011) and The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980–2010 (2011). In 2002, Harper Perennial released her memoir, Sleeping with Cats. She also co-authored with Ira Wood So You Want To Write: How to Master the Craft of Fiction and Personal Narrative. Ira Wood is the author of three novels, a teacher, a former publisher, and the host of a weekly radio program called “The Lowdown” on WOMR-FM, Cape Cod’s Community Radio Station. His short pieces have been published in Ploughshares, Tikkun, and Fifth Wednesday Journal, among many other literary magazines. In 1996 he and Piercy established the Leapfrog Press, an internationally distributed “boutique” publishing company, which they sold in 2007. You’re Married to HER?, his new book of autobiographical essays, was released in August 2012. A reception will follow. 

Co-sponsored with Fifth Wednesday Journal

 

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Thursday, April 25, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Les Murray

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Australian Les Murray grew up on his grandparents’ farm in Bunyah, New South Wales, and returned there with his own family in 1985. The recipient of numerous honors for his poetry, he has published collections including The Ilex Tree (with Geoff Lehmann, 1965) and Dog Fox Field (1990), both winners of the Grace Levin Prize for poetry; Subhuman Redneck Poems (1996), a UK Poetry Society Choice and winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry; Learning Human (2000); Conscious and Verbal (2001), a title inspired by press reports following his battle with a liver ailment and three week coma; and Poems the Size of Photographs (2004). His latest books, both released in 2011, are Taller When Prone: Poems and Killing the Black Dog: A Memoir of Depression. Murray’s work explores the subjects of Australia’s history and landscape. He was formerly the editor of Poetry Australia and is currently the editor of Quadrant magazine.

Co-sponsored with the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute as part of the International Poets in Conversation series

 

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Saturday, April 27, 2 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Campbell McGrath
Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
Harold Washington Library Center
Free, first-come admission. Doors open at 1 PM.

Kingsley Tufts winner and MacArthur “Genius” Campbell McGrath will deliver the keynote reading at this year’s Chicago Public Library Poetry Fest. In eight formally inventive collections, McGrath has established himself as a gifted inheritor of Whitman’s impulse to explore the fullness of the American psyche and landscape. Wit and irony shape his work, but so, too, does the sublime, or, as he writes “the self and the soul in the darkness / chanting to the ecstatic chance of existence.” He teaches at Florida International University.

Co-sponsored with the Chicago Public Library

 

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Friday, May 10, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Ars Poetica: Art Song

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Simply put, an art song is poetry set to music. Ars Poetica brings together contemporary poets, composers, and musicians for an evening of art song. The concert will feature music and words by up-and-coming artists, including Chicago composer Brian Baxter’s interpretation of poetry by 2012 Ruth Lilly Fellow Richie Hofmann, as well as several other composer-poet collaborations. String quartet Chicago Q Ensemble, a rising star in Chicago’s chamber music scene, will perform.

Co-sponsored by Memorious.org and Singers On New Ground

 

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Saturday, May 18, 6 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Bodies of Work Festival with Jim Ferris, Leroy F. Moore, and Barry Silesky
Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

The Bodies of Work Festival presents art and culture that illuminates the disability experience. Taking place in various locations throughout the city and suburbs, the festival features lectures, workshops, visual arts, film, and live performances. The Poetry Foundation hosts a reading by Jim Ferris, Leroy F. Moore,and Barry Silesky. Ferris is the author of Hospital Poems, which received the 2004 Main Street Rag book award, and several influential essays, including “The Enjambed Body.” He chairs the Disability Studies Program at the University of Toledo.Moore is the award-winning founder of Krip-Hop Nation and Sins Invalid. He has received many awards for his advocacy on race and disability matters. Acclaimed biographer of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and John Gardner, Silesky is the author of three books of poetry, most recently, This Disease; founding editor of Another Chicago Magazine; and an instructor at the School of the Art Institute and Loyola University.

Co-sponsored with the Bodies of Work Festival

 

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Thursday, May 30, 7 PM
Harriet Reading Series
Catherine Wagner and Dana Ward
Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

The Harriet Reading Series features presentations by poets who have appeared on Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s blog. The series features both established and emerging poets whose writing finds innovative approaches to the craft of poetry. Catherine Wagner’s books include Nervous Device, My New Job, Macular Hole, and Miss America. She has performed widely in the U.S. and abroad. With Rebecca Wolff, she edited Not for Mothers Only, an anthology of poetry exploring maternity and motherhood. She is associate professor of English at Miami University in Ohio. Dana Ward is the author of This Can’t Be Life, The Crisis of Infinite Worlds,and Some Other Deaths of Bas Jan Ader. Based in Cincinnati, he curates the Cy Press Poetry @ Thunder Sky reading series and co-edits Perfect Lovers Press.

 

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Poetry Foundation Library

Library Hours: Monday–Friday, 11 AM – 4 PM

Special Saturday Hours: January 26, 10 AM – 2 PM and February 16, 10 AM – 2 PM (additional dates to be announced)

Poemtime
Wednesdays at 10 AM

The Poetry Foundation Library welcomes children ages three to five to a weekly storytime event that introduces poetry through fun, interactive readings and games.

 

Field Trips
The Library hosts free field trips for schoolchildren. To learn more or arrange a visit, please contact library@poetryfoundation.org.

 

Library Book Club
January 18 and February 15, 12:30–1:30 PM (additional dates to be announced)

All experience levels are welcome to a monthly book group moderated by library staff. In 2013, the library will ask individuals from varied backgrounds to select titles that have been meaningful to them. January’s curator, Jayne Anne Phillips, selected Irene McKinney’s Unthinkable: Selected Poems. Space is limited to 15 participants. Please register in advance by emailing library@poetryfoundation.org.

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Poetry Foundation Gallery

Gallery Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 AM – 4 PM

Joan Mitchell: At Home in Poetry
Monday, February 4 – Friday, May 31

Abstract Expressionist painter Joan Mitchell (1925–1992) was born and raised in Chicago, and her mother, Marion Strobel, was associate editor at Poetry magazine. Poetry was fundamental to Mitchell’s sensibility and to her paintings, and many of her closest personal and professional relationships were with poets. This exhibition, which includes the large-scale quadriptych painting Minnesota (1980), as well as photographs, letters, and books of poems illustrated by Mitchell, will explore her relationships and collaborations with poets including Frank O’Hara, Bill Berkson, John Ashbery, Nathan Kernan, and her mother. Related programming will consider the interrelations of poetry and the visual arts more broadly. School groups wishing to tour the exhibition should contact library@poetryfoundation.org to schedule a visit.

Co-sponsored with the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

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About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It 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 partnerships, prizes, and programs. Opened to the public in June 2011, the Poetry Foundation building in Chicago provides new space for the Foundation’s extensive roster of public programs and events. It also houses a public garden, a library, and an exhibition gallery as well as the offices of the Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine. For more information, please visit poetryfoundation.org

About the Poetry Foundation Library
The Midwest’s only library dedicated exclusively to poetry, the Poetry Foundation Library exists to promote the reading of poetry in the general public, and to support the editorial needs of all Poetry Foundation programs and staff. Visitors to the library may browse a collection of 30,000 volumes, experience audio and video recordings in private listening booths, and view exhibits of poetry-related materials. In addition to providing public access to its collections in the form of a reading room, the library creates interactive programs to inspire a wider readership for poetry in readers of all ages. The library’s collection aims to present the best poetry, in English or in translation, of the modern and contemporary era, as well as including representative selections of the major poetic works of all eras. A children’s collection contains a range of titles to engage young readers.

 

POETRY FOUNDATION | 61 West Superior Street | Chicago, IL 60654 | 312.787.7070
Media contact: Stephanie Hlywak, shlywak@poetryfoundation.org, 312.799.8016

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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