Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM



Lucille Clifton is one of the most beloved and respected figures in American poetry. A major voice since her 1969 publishing debut, she portrays with clarity and elegance the experiences of being an African-American, a woman, and a human. Her most recent volume, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, won the National Book Award. The New York Times called her "a passionate, mercurial writer, by turns angry, prophetic, compassionate, shrewd, sensuous, vulnerable, and funny." Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College, Clifton was Poet Laureate of Maryland for many years.

Co-sponsored by the Black Students Alliance and
supported by a grant from the Delmas Foundation







Seelye 207
4:00 PM

Presented by the Department of Religion

Michael Sells is a world-renowned scholar of comparative religions and Arabic Literature and culture. His life's work spans international activism, translations of Arabic poetry, and studies in Islamic mysticism and religious intolerance. His most recent collection, Stations of Desire, brings together his own sensual yet spare poetry and elegant translations of love elegies from Ibn 'Arabi.






Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Richard Wilbur is the only living American poet to have won the Pulitzer Prize twice. The second Poet Laureate of the United States, he has displayed consistent eloquence and artistry and is considered America's finest poet writing in traditional meters and forms. Wilbur's literary output includes poetry, prose, children's books, essays, plays, and translations. A prolific and gifted translator of Molière, he is credited with the explosive Molière revival in North America. Wilbur served on the faculties of Harvard, Wellesley, Wesleyan, and Smith, where he is Poet Emeritus. His new book of poems is Mayflies.

Supported by a gift from the Edith Oppenheimer
Richman '31 Fund







John M. Greene Hall
2:30 PM



Adrienne Rich's life and writings have bravely and eloquently challenged roles, myths, and assumptions for half a century. Recipient of countless literary honors, she has been a fervent activist against racism, sexism, economic injustice, and homophobia. Her exacting and provocative work is required reading in English and Women's Studies courses throughout the U.S. As the late June Jordan put it, she "inflames our otherwise withering moral consciousness with tender and engendering inventions of language." In the words of W. S. Merwin, "Adrienne Rich's poems, volume after volume, have been the makings of one of the authentic, unpredictable, urgent, essential voices of our time."

Adrienne Rich's visit to Smith honors Carol T. Christ upon her inauguration as the college's tenth president





First Churches
129 Main St., Northampton
6:30 PM




Featuring Lynn Margulis, Dorian Sagan, Sir Crispin Tickell, and Nancy Willard

'The Poetry of Solutions' brings together four world famous scientists and writers in a fundraiser to launch a monthly calendar list-serve of Pioneer Valley sustainable development initiatives. Professor Margulis will quote Emily Dickinson and connect that poetry to her own groundbreaking work on the Gaia hypothesis and evolutionary symbiosis. Sir Crispin Tickell will share how the poetic wisdom of the 12th Century Abbess Hildegard von Bingen has informed his extraordinary policy and diplomatic work on global climate change. The poets, Mr. Sagan and Ms. Willard, will use their compelling works and commentary to further bridge the false divides between poetry, science, nature and a more positive future.

Presented by Sustainable Step New England

For further info, please visit: http://www.ssne.org/PressRelease/POSinvitational.htm





Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Claribel Alegría has been a formidable champion for Central America, speaking for justice and liberty in each of her 40 books of poetry, fiction, and essays. In the poems, Alegría's talent, courage, and commitment to freedom emerge most strongly. Her work has been translated into more than ten languages, into English most notably by Carolyn Forché and by Alegría's late husband, Darwin Flakoll. Alegría's most recent collection of poetry, Saudade ("Sorrow"), is an exquisite record of her grief after Flakoll's death. Her willingness to plumb unbearable emotions makes her a unique guide through tumult, both political and personal.



Ernesto Cardenal is a cultural icon: his writings have altered history. Priest, social activist, and former Minister of Culture in Sandinista Nicaragua, Cardenal is the most urgent and eloquent voice in a country of poets and revolutionaries. From his years of contemplation at Thomas Merton's Trappist monastery in Kentucky, to his support for the overthrow of the corrupt Somoza regime in Nicaragua, to his foundation of the liberationist Christian commune Solentiname and the highly successful literary workshops of the Sandinista years, Cardenal has tied poetry to his life and brought poetry to the lives of many.

Co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs & Nosotras of Smith College and supported by a gift from Elaine Weschler Slater '47 and Jim Slater







Neilson Browsing Room
4:30 & 7:30 PM



John Felstiner's career is characterized by the blurred boundaries between scholar and artist. An eminent academic and poet-translator, with many prestigious fellowships and awards to his credit, Felstiner specializes in modern poetry, Jewish literature, and literary translation. Best known for his work on Pablo Neruda and Paul Celan, Felstiner both performs and theorizes the translations, engaging in simultaneous creation and interpretation. Comparing criticism and translation, he comments on "the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. The translator walks the walk." Felstiner will do both in two lectures:

*4:30 pm “Watching Poets on Their Way Out of English” – including Whitman by Neruda, Dickinson by Celan, Yeats by Bonnefoy, Williams by Paz & Cardenal

*7:30 pm “‘Speak Through My Words’: Translating Neruda & Celan” – including rare recordings of their voices





Helen Hills Hills Chapel
4:00 PM

Presented by the Departments of English and Religion
and the Chapel

Daniel Berrigan's considerable literary achievements are often overlooked in the context of his heroic life. A Jesuit priest and social activist regularly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Berrigan has been arrested hundreds of times for his acts of civil disobedience. He has also authored over fifty books, including Time Without Number, which won the Lamont Poetry Prize in 1957. His most recent collection is And the Risen Bread, published in 1998.

Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

James Tate was a 23-year-old graduate student when he won the Yale Series of Younger Poets award for The Lost Pilot. A dozen subsequent collections have established him as one of the foremost American surrealists, and he has received every major honor, from the $100,000 Tanning Prize to the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Since 1971, Tate has been on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Hailed by the Village Voice as "the best American poet born in the 1940s" and by the New York Times as "an elegant, anarchic clown," Tate has also ventured into fiction. In the words of John Ashbery, Tate "never ceases to astonish, dismay, delight, confuse, tickle, and generally improve the quality of our lives."










Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Marie Howe writes with stunning simplicity and intimacy. Her most recent volume of poems, What the Living Do, is in large part a personal elegy to her brother John, who died of AIDS. With Michael Klein, she co-edited In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. She has been a fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, and a recipient of NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships. Currently, she teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College.






Richard McCann is the author of Dream of the Traveler, Nights of 1990, and, most recently, Ghost Letters, which received the Beatrice Hawley prize and the Capricorn Poetry Award. Fiercely passionate and deeply elegiac, his poems are, as Mark Doty writes, "posted from the zone where mortality and desire intersect." McCann lives in Washington, D.C., where he co-directs the program in Creative Writing at American University.

Supported by the Edith Oppenheimer Richman '31 Fund










Neilson Browsing Room
7:30 PM

The First Annual Five College Student Poetryfest is a reading in celebration of poetry at Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts, featuring two students from each institution:

Billy Lopez and Evan Klavon (Amherst)
Jason Barber and Sean Bishop (Hampshire)
Olivia Bustion and Nicole Zerillo (Mount Holyoke)
Maggie Halley and Allegra Mira (Smith)
Kristina Martino and Steven Zultanski (Umass)

A reception will follow the reading.

Co-sponsored by Five Colleges, Inc.








Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM




Marilyn Chin is a self-described “hyphenated American poet,” a Chinese-American deeply engaged in the cultural processes of exile, loss, and assimilation. Her poems are influenced materially, technically, and thematically by such diverse sources as the classical Chinese tradition and the epigrams of Horace. Chin has published three collections, most recently Rhapsody in Plain Yellow, and received many awards, including a Stegner Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, and four Pushcart Prizes. She teaches in the MFA program at San Diego State University. 

Supported by the Delmas Foundation













Reetika Vazirani was born in India and raised in Maryland. Her most recent collection, World Hotel, vividly portrays the clashes between mother and daughter, between lovers, between eastern and western cultures, and between colonizers and colonized. Vazirani’s first book, White Elephants, was chosen by Marilyn Hacker for the Barnard New Women Poets Prize. Other honors include a Pushcart Prize and the “Discovery" / The Nation Award. She is currently Writer-in-Residence at the College of William and Mary, and an editor for Shenandoah. ?

Co-sponsored by the Department of Women’s Studies and Meridians







Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM


Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, bringing Caribbean literature to international attention. Author of dozens of books and recipient of countless honors, including a MacArthur “genius” grant, he is also founder of the Trinidad Theater Workshop and a renowned playwright. Walcott has transformed the imperial English of the West Indies into what Alison Hawthorne Deming calls “a new way of singing.”  His great epic poem Omeros weaves classical Greek, African, English, and Island traditions into a new kind of origin myth. “Either I’m a nobody, or I’m a nation,” he writes, speaking to the personal and the historical at once. Walcott teaches at Boston University, but still calls St. Lucia home.   




Melissa Green's The Squanicook Eclogues garnered the respect of such distinguished voices as Derek Walcott and Joseph Brodsky. This exquisite first book won the Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the Academy of American Poets and the Norma Farber Award from the Poetry Society of America. It was followed by the searing and tender memoir Color is the Suffering of Light. Green lives in Winthrop, Massachusetts. She has recently completed a new book of poems, and is at work on a novel.

Supported by Peggy Block Danziger & Richard Danziger








W.S. Merwin began his life in poetry at age five, writing hymns for his minister father’s Presbyterian services. In a career spanning five decades, his poetic voice has moved from formalism to experimentation with “open forms” to the dream-like, image-dense style of his most recent work. Author of more than forty collections of poetry, prose, and translation, Merwin has been awarded most of the major prizes in American letters, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Bollingen Prize, and the first Tanning Prize for mastery in the art of poetry. As Peter Davison writes, he “engages the underground stream of our lives.” A long-time pacifist and environmental activist, Merwin lives in Hawaii, where he keeps a garden of rare and endangered palm trees. 

The Poetry Center dedicates this reading to the memory of Sylvia K. Burack '38
Supported by the Smith College Lecture Committee


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