Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM


Martín Espada is a rare creature: a successfully political poet. Yusef Komunyakaa writes that A Mayan Astronomer in Hell's Kitchen, published to rave reviews in 2000, "recalibrates history till a scary clarity stares us in the eyes." Hailed as "the Latino poet of his generation," Espada is also an essayist, translator, and editor. He was recently installed as the first Poet Laureate of Northampton.




Richard Blanco's
cultural heritage and professional interests epitomize diversity. "Made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States" (his family left Cuba for Madrid while he was in utero and immigrated to the U.S. after he was born), Blanco is trained as an engineer and a poet-and he has also been known to design furniture, play the bongos, and take underwater photographs. His first book, City of a Hundred Fires, won the Agnes Starrett Prize in 1997, and has garnered much praise for its vivid portrayal of Cuban-American life.

This reading is co-sponsored by Nosotras of Smith College and is supported by a grant from The Delmas Foundation







Heather McHugh is the author of six volumes of poetry, a collection of essays, and book-length translations from several languages. Dubbed a "postmodern metaphysician," she is widely praised for her attention to and fascination with language itself. Robert Hass describes her as "a poet for whom wit is a form of spiritual survival." McHugh's Hinge & Sign: Poems 1968-1993 was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her translation work includes the publication last year of Euripides' Cyclops and Glottal Stop: Poems of Paul Celan (with her husband, Nikolai Popov).

Heather McHugh's visit is co-sponsored by the MFA Program at the University of Massachusetts, where she gives a talk "How Poets Feel: A Tribute to the Transitive" Wednesday afternoon Oct. 24, 3:00 pm - Further info: 545-0643






Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM


Please note, this reading is regretfully postponed until Fall '02

Lucille Clifton is one of the most beloved and respected figures in American poetry today. A major voice since her publishing debut in 1969, she has continued to portray the experiences of being an African-American, a woman, and a human with clarity and elegance. Her most recent volume, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems,1988-2000, won the National Book Award. Haki Madhubuti writes that "Lucille Clifton is a poet of mean talent who has not let her gifts separate her from the work at hand." Clifton is Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College of Maryland. She lives in Maryland, where she was Poet Laureate for many years.

This reading is co-sponsored by the Black Students Alliance and is supported by a grant from The Delmas Foundation






Neilson Browsing Room
7:30 PM


Henri Cole, hailed by Harold Bloom as "a central poet of his generation," has declared his primary goal is "to write what is human." At times severe, always attentive, and extremely lyrical, his poetry takes on that task, seeking the core of diverse human experiences. Phoebe Pettingell calls Cole's most recent volume, The Visible Man, "a brave, even graceful attempt to find what is most vulnerable underneath all the armor and stage props we use to buttress our egos." Cole is currently Conkling Writer in Residence at Smith College.










Holocaust-survivor and internationally-known chemist Roald Hoffmann writes poetry about “the risky enterprise of being human.” Winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry and author of three collections of poems, Hoffman writes of his dual role as poet and scientist, “There is metaphor aplenty in science. Emotions emerge shaped as states of matter and, more interestingly, matter acts out what goes on in the soul.”

The Philosophy Department sponsors a talk by Roald Hoffmann, “Most of What’s Interesting about Chemistry is Not Reducible to Physics,” Friday November 16, 8:00 pm, Wright Auditorium






Acclaimed African-American poet, playwright, and scholar Elizabeth Alexander has read her poetry and lectured all over the country. She has been widely published in such journals and periodicals as The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Village Voice, The Women's Review of Books, and The Washington Post.

Rich with visceral surprise, tingling memory, and personal questions which resonate into our country's past and future, Alexander's work has been described by the New York Times as "...a historical mosaic with profound cultural integrity...creating intellectual magic in poem after poem." Alexander was the 1997-98 Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence here at Smith, and was the first director of the Poetry Center.


Poet and translator Ellen Doré Watson is the author of We Live In Bodies and Broken Railings, and has published individual poems widely in literary journals, including The American Poetry Review and The New Yorker.

Recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant, the Rona Jaffee Writers Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, she has nine books of translation in print, including The Alphabet in the Park, selected poems of Brazilian Adélia Prado. Watson is an editor at The Massachusetts Review and Director of the Poetry Center at Smith.











John M. Greene Hall
7:30 PM



The New York Times calls Billy Collins "the most popular poet in America". This year, as Poet Laureate of the United States, he's also the most visible. Collins regularly reads his work on National Public Radio, draws huge audiences to live readings, and his latest collection, Sailing Alone Around the Room, is a poetry megaseller. Collins has built a rare bridge of admiration for his work between serious literary folk and newcomers to poetry. According to Poet Ed Hirsch, he's "an American original-a metaphysical poet with a funny bone." Gerald Stern has called his work "wise, funny, and brilliant."
Billy Collins lives in New York and teaches at Lehman College of the City University of New York.






Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Cornelius Eady was dubbed "the heir of Langston Hughes" by The Southern Review. Much of his work celebrates Harlem, offering, as Leslie Ullman writes, "brief glimpses of urban life, meditations to jazz and blues music, and a quiet, crystalline sort of anger." Eady also addresses the vision of the black man in white imagination with what Booklist calls "tremendous verve, drama, compassion, and insight." His most recent volume, Brutal Imagination, is narrated largely by the black kidnapper invented by Susan Smith to cover up the killing of her two young sons. Eady is the author of seven books of poetry and two libretti, and is currently Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the City College of New York.

This reading is supported by a grant from The Delmas Foundation






Neilson Browsing Room
7:30 PM

Gillian Clarke's Selected Poems is one of the most popular books of Welsh poetry. Hers is an important voice for Wales, particularly for Welsh women. The Times Literary Supplement praised her most recent book, Five Fields, saying, "Gillian Clarke's poems ring with lucidity and power….Her work is both personal and archetypal, built out of language as concrete as it is musical." She has also published several well-regarded children's books and translates Welsh-language fiction, drama, and poetry, including the work of Menna Elfyn. Clarke teaches creative writing and lives in Ceredigion with her husband and their flock of sheep.



Menna Elfyn describes herself as a Christian anarchist with a passion for Welsh language and identity. After seven acclaimed collections of Welsh-language poetry, her most recent book, Cell Angel, was published in a Welsh-English bilingual edition. Dense and elliptical, her poems restlessly search for the spiritual within the earthly. Elfyn has also written stage plays, television documentaries, and opera libretti, and travels widely giving readings and workshops. "English," she affirms, "has enabled me to travel the world and be understood, but the Welsh language is my world."






Jean Valentine is the quintessential "poet's poet." Since winning the Yale Younger Poets Award in 1965, she has published ten collections of poetry to high critical acclaim. Among her distinguished fans is Adrienne Rich, who writes: "Valentine's poems ask for a kind of reader that I hope is still being born-one whose senses are unblunted by the heave and crackle of bravura writing, of poetic muscle-flexers and weight-lifters." Spare, intensely-felt, and often fragmentary, Valentine's cryptic, dreamlike poems present experience as only imperfectly graspable. Says Seamus Heaney, "These are poems that only she could write."





Sharon Kraus's first volume of poems, Generation, unflinchingly documents what Publisher's Weekly calls "the eros of abuse." "Sensual, passionate, earthly and unearthly together," writes Jean Valentine, "Sharon Kraus's work brings a fierce grief up into the sane daylight of her words." Of her new collection, Strange Land, Marie Ponsot writes that the poems are "darkly brilliant, reaching from harm to healing and the risk of hope." Kraus's awards include fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Editor's Choice Award from Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art.





John M. Greene Hall
7:30 PM

A living legend and a giant of American letters, Stanley Kunitz has published twelve books of poetry in the last seventy years. He served as the Poet Laureate of the United States for 2000 and 2001. At the age of ninety-six, Kunitz is one of America’s most important and lasting voices. He lives in New York City and in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he tends his famous garden.






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