Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM


One of the most vital and original voices in American poetry, Eleanor Wilner writes from what Poetry terms a “mythical impulse,” her “imaginative energy directed outward, rather than inward, toward the world, rather than the self.” Her sixth and most recent collection, The Girl With Bee In Her Hair, strives to further illuminate the powerful, timeless myths that shape an ongoing human narrative. Wilner's many accolades include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. On the faculty of the MFA Program at Warren Wilson College since 1989, she makes her home in Philadelphia. This is Wilner’s second term as Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence here at Smith College.







Poet Diane Gilliam Fisher’s newest work, Kettle Bottom, re-imagines the West Virginia coal mine wars of 1920–1921 through the voices of miners, mountaineers and immigrants. Fisher, whose family was a part of the Appalachian outmigration from West Virginia and Kentucky, was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Kettle Bottom received the 2004 Perugia Press Intro Award, and she received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council in 2003. Fisher has a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literature from The Ohio State University and an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She lives in Brimfield, Ohio with her husband and children.

An endowed reading in memory of Edith Oppenheimer Richman, ’31





Neilson Browsing Room
4:00 PM

A Celebration of the extraordinary collaborative work of Enid Epstein Mark ’54, artist and proprietor of the ELM Press, featuring poets Eleanor Wilner, Celia Gilbert ’54, Susan Snively ’67, and Annie Boutelle, who will read their contributions to Ars Botanica, published by ELM press this year, and also Enid Mark herself, interviewed by Martin Antonetti about her collaboration with writers, printers, binders, and type foundries. ELM Press books are renowned for their seamless fusion of finely printed text and Mark’s seductive lithographs. A reception in the Book Arts Gallery will follow the poetry reading and interview.

Presented by the Friends of the Smith College Libraries
and the Mortimer Rare Book Room





Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall
7:30 PM

A 70-minute documentary film distilling the emotional essence of war. Produced by one of the founders of Poets Against the War, the movie sharply etches the experience of war through powerful images and the words of poets – unknown and world-famous – from the United States, Colombia, Britain, Nigeria, Iraq, and India. Soldiers, journalists, historians, and experts on combat add diverse perspectives on the history of war and its effects on combatants and civilians alike.

Originally screened to honor the anniversary of September 11, the film is back by popular demand. This repeat showing will be followed by informal discussion and refreshments in the Poetry Center.





John M. Greene Hall
7:30 PM

The New York Times calls Seamus Heaney a "poet of the everyday," and the Irish poet, teacher, critic, and translator likens his pen to his father’s spade, a tool with which he excavates truths both large and small. A master of form, Heaney’s elegantly constructed poems are grounded in the mundane realities of the everyday, even as they are charged by the complexities of a politicized world. He is the author of 12 books of poetry, several works of criticism, and a diverse range of well-received translations, including his internationally best-selling adaptation of Beowulf. Heaney divides his time between Dublin, Ireland, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet in Residence at Harvard University.

Supported by the Smith College Lecture Committee and
the Office of the President





Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM



By turns sensual, political, and outraged, activist-poet Demetria Martinez writes from a conviction that transformation--of the world and of the self—is always possible. Her lyrical, evocative poems reside in the contested territories of political borderlands and the human heart. A committed social activist, Martinez has been in the forefront of the sanctuary movement. Educated at Princeton University, Martinez is a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter. She is active with immigrants?rights groups and teaches workshops on writing for social change. She lives in Albuquerque.

Supported by Women’s Studies Program
and the Department of Spanish & Portuguese









Neilson Browsing Room
7:30 PM



Exuberant, generous, and expansive, the poems of Barbara Ras are rich hymns in praise of the everyday. Lyrical snapshots of the daily joys and sorrows that make up a life, they are acutely observed, precisely rendered, and deeply felt, capturing life’s complex-ities with affection and energy. Booklist praises her “penetrating imagination, which turns even the simplest things iridescent with myriad shades of meaning.” Ras’s first book, Bite Every Sorrow, was awarded the 1997 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. A second collection is due out from Penguin in 2006. Ras lives in San Antonio, Texas, where she directs the Trinity University Press.

Supported by the Kixie Denison Fieldman Lectureship in Women's Studies





Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM


Unsettled and unsettling, the poetry of Claudia Rankine stretches the conventions of genre as it challenges those of society. Courting paradox and confronting discontinuity, Rankine welds the cerebral and the spiritual, the sensual and the grotesque. Says Jorie Graham, “Sad, funny, smart, tart, nuanced, blunt: one can only say thank you to such a poet.” The author of three books of poetry, Rankine’s latest work, Don't Let Me Be Lonely, is prose fiction, an experimental and deeply personal exploration of the condition of fragmented selfhood in contemporary America. Her work has appeared in the Boston Review, jubilat, and numerous other journals. Rankine lives and works in Houston, Texas, where she teaches at the University of Houston.

Supported by the Department of Afro-American Studies






Poetry Center, Wright Hall
4:00 PM



"Oykh ikh zing amerike/I, too, Sing America.” In celebration of the 350th anniversary of the Jewish presence in America, readings of the modernist moment in American Yiddish poetry will be presented by Justin Cammy, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature, and Robert Adler-Peckerar, Director of Education at the National Yiddish Book Center.

Presented by the programs in Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature





Weinstein Auditorium
7:30 PM

Jane Hirshfield’s poems, called “passionate and radiant” by the New York Times Book Review, are grounded in the exploration of interconnection and transience. Meticulously crafted, layered with complexity but seeking clarity, Hirshfield’s poems embrace both human experience and the natural world with empathy and care. In Robert Pinksy’s words, “Jane Hirshfield approaches the poem in a way that feels exactly right to me: plainly, reverently, intelligently.” In addition to five books of poems, Hirshfield is author of Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, and three anthologies collecting the work of women poets from the past. Her many honors include fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, and the NEA. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jane Hirshfield’s reading is supported by the LectureCommittee, and is the kick-off event of the conference Women Practicing Buddhism: American Experiences including "Buddhism & Creativity," a conversation with Jane Hirshfield & Meredith Monk, Friday at 4:30 pm For further information: or (413)585-3679





Weinstein Auditorium
7:30 PM


Saadi Youssef, originally scheduled to read at Smith, was unable to obtain a visa to travel to the United States. The Poetry Center presents an evening in his honor, featuring the Iraqi poet Sinan Antoon, reading his own and Youssef’s work in Arabic and English, with live music by the Arabic musical ensemble Layaali.

One of the leading contemporary poets of the Arab world, Youssef writes of cultural dislocation and self-imposed exile, individual memory and collective history. The poet Marilyn Hacker writes, “Saadi Youssef was born in Iraq, but he has become, through the vicissitudes of history and the cosmopolitan appetites of his mind, a poet, not only of the Arab world, but of the human universe.” The author of more than 30 collections of poetry and 7 books of prose, Youssef has also worked as a journalist, activist, publisher, and translator, bringing to Arabic works by such writers as Walt Whitman, Federico García Lorca, and George Orwell. Youssef left Iraq in 1979 and, after many detours, has recently settled in London.

Sinan Antoon, who has been inspired and influenced by the work of Saadi Youssef, studied English literature at Baghdad University before coming to the United States after the 1991 Gulf War. He did his graduate studies at Georgetown and Harvard, where he is a PhD candidate in Arabic literature, and has been teaching at Dartmouth College. Poet, novelist, filmmaker, editor, and translator, Antoon is a senior editor with the Arab Studies Journal; his poems and articles (in Arabic and English) have appeared in The Nation, Middle East Report, al-Ahram Weekly and Banipal. He has published a novel and a volume of poems in Arabic, and his translations of his own poems were anthologized in Iraqi Poetry Today.

Supported by Peggy Block Danziger ’62 & Richard Danziger






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