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Poetry Presents: Eliza Griswold

Thursday, January 19th – Thursday, January 19th, 6:00 PM–9:00 PM

Poetry Foundation
61 West Superior Street
Free reservations at http://poetryfoundation.eventbrite.com or by calling (312) 787-7070

“We talk about survivor’s guilt, but not about observer’s guilt. For journalists, this is particularly acute, as we are paid to watch suffering and paid more during war. For poets, it’s even worse,” writes Eliza Griswold in the January 2012 issue of Poetry. In her notebook-style essay, Griswold tells of her experiences on the island of Lampedusa, the entry point for Libyan refugees crossing the border into Europe. She examines the difficulty of writing prose or poetry about human crises. In an effort to understand the problem, she asks a priest on the island “if, in his opinion, Lampedusa is more Europe or Africa”:

“Geographically this is Africa but politically this is Europe.”
“What side of the story is the press missing?”
“The human side,” he says.

Eliza Griswold speaks about what journalists have described as the “human tragedy” of the Lampedusa refugee crisis, discusses her life as a journalist and poet, and reads her own poems. A reception follows.

Other Information

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  • Detail, photograph by Jun Fujita, circa 1930s, courtesy of the Graham and Pamela Lee private collection.
    Current Exhibition
    Jan 12, 2017 – Apr 21, 2017

    This exhibition presents photographs and ephemera from the poet Jun Fujita (1888-1963). Fujita is an English-language tanka poet who published regularly in Poetry during the 1920s. The first Japanese-American photojournalist, he is responsible for the most famous photos of the Eastland disaster, the Chicago race riots of 1919, and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, among others. This show will explore his lesser-known landscapes.