Fall Semester
2007




 


Tuesday September 18
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

 

     
  Nikky Finney   Nikky Finney

NIKKY FINNEY’s poems provide glimpses into the human adventures of birth, death, family, violence, sexuality, and relationship, exploring the soul of human community. They point out the constants we share and appeal for more compassion, reaching from the personal into the collective with equal measures of love and rage. Writes Walter Mosely, “She has flung me into an afterbirth of stars and made my stiff bones as loose as jelly.” Author of four books, most recently The World is Round, Finney is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a group of Appalachian writers of African descent. Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kentucky, she is this year’s Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence at Smith College.

 

Supported by the Department of English Language & Literature

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday October 2
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall
7:30 PM

 

 

 

   
  Robert Hass

 

  Robert Hass

In poems at once calm and questioning, ROBERT HASS burrows through the outer layers of meaning assigned to objects and nature and, as the playwright Brighde Mullins claims, “sharpens our senses on the whetstone of his noticing.” Hass’s first poetry collection, Field Guide, was selected by Stanley Kunitz for the Yale Younger Poets Series in 1973. Indeed, Hass’s poetry often serves as a guide to the natural world, while also leading the reader through complex realms of human interaction. Recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and two National Book Critics Circle Awards, among other honors, Hass served as United States Poet Laureate from 1995-97. He lives in California.

Supported by Peggy Block Danziger ’62 & Richard Danziger

 

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday October 23
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

 

     
  Aleida Rodriguez
  Aleida Rodriguez

ALEIDA RODRIGUEZ’s debut collection, Garden of Exile, has been praised for the scope of the poet’s view—creating a visual, visceral world where “A lingual bridge lowers into my backyard,” and “the red-throated hummingbird . . . sweeps all my questions into the single sky.” Born in Havana and brought to America at age nine, Rodríguez writes poems that resonate with exile, escape, questions of impossible return. In the words of the poet Marie Ponsot, she is “so grounded, she freely regards everything (and measures nothing).” Rodríguez has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, and lives in Los Angeles.

Supported by Meridians

and the Program for the Study of Women and Gender

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday November13
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

 

     
  Gail Mazur  

Alumnae Reading

GAIL MAZUR’s poems celebrate the din and detail of ordinary life. With a voice at once whimsical and wholly lucid, Mazur is a poet prone to such utterances as “I’d dislocated my life, so I went to the zoo,” though as an observer she is careful “not to equate, for instance, / the lemur’s displacement with my displacement.” Her 2001 volume They Can’t Take That Away from Me was a finalist for the National Book Award, and her most recent volume, Zeppo’s First Wife: New and Selected Poems, won the Massachusetts Book Award. A Smith alumna, Mazur has long been active in the Boston and Cambridge literary communities, and currently serves as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emerson College.

 

 

Supported by the Lecture Committee

 
   

 


 
  Gina Franco   Hailed as “a masterful new voice” by Demetria Martinez,
GINA FRANCO writes fearless poems that refuse to blink before the reader’s expectant gaze. Her first collection, The Keepsake Storm, brims with long-limbed narratives that amble out of a western landscape to reveal harsh truths: alarming family portraits, decay in the natural world, friends and strangers who die too soon. Of this poet’s tumultuous inner landscape, Rane Arroyo writes, “Gina Franco interprets storms, unscrambles chaos, and honors wounds.” And yet, Franco deftly inserts achingly calm moments in the most dramatic scenes, like pinpoints in a dark sky, as when one person writes to another, “How are you doing? How’s the weather? Did the rain stop?” An alumna of Smith College, Franco lives in Illinois, where she teaches at Knox College.
 
 

 

 

   
  Eve Grubin  

EVE GRUBIN writes lithe and contemplative poems in which ambiguity and gravity meet. “Somebody is closing a gate / or opening one” she writes in the opening poem of her first collection, Morning Prayer. Grubin employs Jewish mysticism and ritual practice, literary constructs, and the formative rites of youth as vehicles for understanding. “There are mysterious, suspicious fires around words, lines, poems themselves,” writes Stanley Moss. “Her work is dangerous to itself, right as rain.” It is this thrilling danger that gives the poems their incessant, humble light. A native of New York and an alumna of Smith College, Grubin holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and worked as program director for the Poetry Society of America. She teaches at the New School University and City College of New York.

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

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday December 4
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

 

     
 
Elizabeth Alexander
  Alumnae Sampler Reading & Anniversary Celebration

Back to Our Roots

ELIZABETH ALEXANDER’s is a vital and vivid poetic voice on race, gender, politics, and motherhood. A scholar of African-American literature and culture, she recently published a collection of essays, The Black Interior. Clarence Major writes that “Alexander has an instinct for turning her profound cultural vision into one that illuminates universal experience.” Her most recent book, American Sublime, rich with persona poems, jazz riffs, historical narratives, sonnets, elegies and ars poeticas, was one of three finalists for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. This year she was awarded the inaugural Jackson Prize from Poets & Writers. A professor at Yale University, Alexander was Conkling Poet at Smith from 1997-1999, and the first director of the Poetry Center.


 
 

 

 

   
  Karl Kirchwey   KARL KIRCHWEY’s poetry brushes away the layers of fog and cobweb settled over history, revealing classical resonances in every piece of contemporary life. Mary Jo Salter has aptly called him “a poet for whom the world of antiquity is as real as this morning's breakfast.” Kirchwey has published four volumes of poetry, most recently The Happiness of This World, and his work has been widely anthologized, in volumes such as Poetry After 9/11: An Anthology of New York Poets, The Best of the Best American Poetry 1987-1998, and After Ovid: New Metamorphoses. Having served, for thirteen years, as director of the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center in New York City, currently he directs the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College. Kirchwey served as Conkling Poet at Smith 1995-1997.
 
 

 

 

   
  Meredith Martin   Poet and scholar MEREDITH MARTIN, Smith class of ’97, studied poetry at Smith with Karl Kirchwey and Annie Boutelle, and helped develop the proposal for a Poetry Center. Martin earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan, and teaches at Princeton University. Her specialties include Victorian, Edwardian, and Georgian poetry, 20th century lyric theory, and poetry of the First World War. She is also interested in poetry and/in public culture, the history of metrical education, and the place of rhythm in hip-hop culture. Martin is at work on two book-length projects, The Rise and Fall of Meter: Poetic Form and English National Culture, 1880-1920 and 'I'm Nobody or I'm a Nation': Colonial Metrical Education and the Formation of Poetic Identity,” as well as articles on Gerard Manly Hopkins and Robert Bridges.

 
 

 

 

   
  Abe Louise Young   Writer, educator, and editor ABE LOUISE YOUNG, Smith class of ’99, assisted Elizabeth Alexander in the first two years of the Poetry Center. She completed her M.F.A. at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James Michener Fellow, and has published poems, essays, and reviews in many journals and anthologies. Editor of Hip Deep: Opinion, Essays, and vision from American Teenagers, Young has led writing workshops with residents of public housing and gifted high school students alike, and has won high reviews for innovative teaching on the college level. She also worked as an oral history consultant for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Danish-American Dialogue for Human Rights, and is Founder and Director of Alive in Truth: The New Orleans Disaster Oral History Project.
 
     

 

 

 
     

 

 

 
     

 

 

 

 
      Spring Semester
2008


 
 

Please note
ThursdayFebruary21
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

 

     
      The Sixth Annual Five College Poetry Fest

In celebration of student poetry at Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts, this annual reading features two student poets from each institution. Smith representatives are Georgia Pearle & Kimberley Rogers.                    

Co-sponsored by Five Colleges, Inc.

 
     

 

 

 
 

March4
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

 

 

 

   
 
Tony Hoagland

 

  Tony Hoagland

Tony Hoaglands poems expose the wonders and blunders of American society. No subject is too vulnerable or too private for his brash and unashamed storytelling. Hoagland delves head-on into the throes of adolescence, male culture, knowledge of mortality; as William Matthews wrote, though, “There’s an underlying sweetness to these poems, and a gratitude for having survived so much human fecklessness (including, of course, one’s own).” Marie Howe has called his work “hilarious and searing.” Hoagland is author of three collections of poems, What Narcissism Means to Me, Donkey Gospel (winner of the James Laughlin Award)and Sweet Ruin (winner of the Brittingham Prize), as well as a book of brilliant essays, Real Sofistikashun, and, most recently, Hard Rain, a chapbook.

Tony Hoagland’s week-long residency at Smith, featuring workshops, individual student conferences, and a craft lecture is made possible by a special alumnae gift.

 

 
     

 

 

 
 

March25
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall
7:30 PM

 

     
 
Mark Doty
  Mark Doty

Mark Doty brings us to the brink of death and then straight back into the grip of life, unraveling themes of grief, sexuality, and transformation. His three books of prose and seven of poetry have won wide acclaim, distinguished awards, and fervent readers. Phillip Levine said, “If it were mine to invent the poet to complete the century of William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens, I would create Mark Doty just as he is, a maker of big, risky, fearless poems in which ordinary human experience becomes music.”  Fire to Fire: New & Selected Poems is new this spring, and, as W. S. Merwin says, “A new book of poems—or of anything—by Mark Doty is good news in a dark time.”

Mark Doty’s visit is supported by the Program for the Study of Women & Gender,sponsors, along with American Studies and the Lecture Committee, of a lecture by Doty on memoir on March 26.

 
     

 

 

 
 

April 8
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall
7:30 PM

 

     
  Sharon Olds   Sharon Olds and High School Prize-Winners

Sharon Olds writes stark, potent, cathartic poetry—brutally honest and beautiful in its stripped-down artistry. One of our most widely-read poets, Olds’s poems have appeared in over 100 anthologies. David Leavitt praised her “lyrical acuity which is both purifying and redemptive.” Writing on such subjects as family, alcoholism, sex, mothering, and the horrors of violence and war, her dazzling and harrowing voice haunts and surprises and pleases. Michael Ondaatje has called her poems “pure fire in the hands.” Recipient of many honors, Olds teaches at NYU and served as New York State Poet Laureate. She is this year’s judge for the Smith College Poetry Prize for High School Girls in Massachusetts.

 

Supported by the Lecture Committee

 
     

 


 
 

April 22
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall
7:30 PM

 

     
 
  Alumnae Sampler Reading & Anniversary Celebration

The last event of our 10th Anniversary year features a sampler of poetry by Smith alumnae from near and far, from the class of 1942 all the way up to the class of 2007, and representing every decade between. Libations follow, on Wright Hall Terrance and the Poetry Center. Come hear our wonderful of alumnae participants and help us celebrate the body and spirit of poetry at Smith.


 
     

 

 

 

 
  Events   Bookselling and signing follow the readings.

Books provided by Broadside Bookshop, which generously donates a portion of the profits to our program.


Videos of many readings are available for viewing in the Neilson Library.
 
     

 

 

 
         
       
       
         
         
         
 



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