Fall Semester
2009




 


Tuesday September 29
John M. Greene Hall
7:30 PM

 

 

 

 
  Mary Oliver

 

  Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver's poetry has been called "an excellent antidote for the excesses of civilization." Her many books-26 at present count-are beloved and essential to a wide spectrum of readers the world over. Oliver has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award for Poetry, the Lannan Foundation Literary Award, the New England Booksellers Association Award for Literary Excellence, and the Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Award, among many other honors. Praising her work as "fine and deep," Stanley Kunitz went on to say "it reads like a blessing. Her special gift is to connect us with our sources in the natural world, its beauties and terrors and mysteries and consolations." Oliver makes her home in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Presented in collaboration with the Sophia Smith Collection

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday October 20
Neilson Browsing Room
7:30 PM

 

   
  Susan Stewart
  Solitude

As dedicated to the senses as they are to the mind, Susan Stewart’s fiercely ambitious poems never for a minute forget to make music. As Allen Grossman writes, Stewart “has built a poetic syntax capable of conveying an utterly singular account of consciousness.” In addition to five collections of poems, most recently Columbarium and Red Rover, she has published five books of criticism and one of translation. Recipient of many honors, Stewart is Professor of English at Princeton University and a former MacArthur Fellow.

Presented by the Department of English Language & Literature

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday, November 3
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

 

   
 

Matthew Dickman


Michael Dickman

  Matthew & Michael Dickman

Twin brothers from the Lents neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, Matthew & Michael Dickman have each recently published first books and have been profiled in Poets & Writers and The New Yorker. Both have received fellowships from the Michener Center for Writers, the Vermont Studio Centers, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

 

Matthew Dickman’s All-American Poem was chosen by Tony Hoagland to win the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. Pop culture and sacred longing go hand in hand in poems that deal with skinheads, parties, campus vending machines, biker gangs, suicides, and girls with tattoos—the background is a downbeat America, but the style looks back to the singing free verse of Walt Whitman and Frank O’Hara.

 

Michael Dickman’s The End of the West breathes in the world—delight, cruelty, boredom, and grief—and breathes out a prayer that holds both grace and suffering. With what Franz Wright calls “the utmost gravity as well as a kind of cosmic wit,” the poems flit and play and question, depicting spiritual longing, drug abuse, gritty neighborhoods, and unfailingly complicated human relationships. Michael is currently a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday December1
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

 

   
  Aracelis Girmay   Aracelis Girmay

In his powerhouse debut, The Maverick Room, Thomas Sayers Ellis works the page the way his musical subjects—crooners, masters of funk, DC based go-go bands—work a room: with rhythm, sass and self-deprecating wit. These gregarious, socially conscious, and eversurprising poems dissect, embrace and reject traditional tropes of African American literature, and then take a linguistic swerve toward Gertrude Stein. Ellis serves as contributing editor to Callaloo and Poets & Writers magazine, and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and the MFA program at Lesley University.

 
     

 


 
     

 

Spring Semester
2010

 

 
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Tuesday, February 9
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

 

 

 

 
  Martha Rhodes

 

  Martha Rhodes

Martha Rhodes' poetry is variously described as lucid, savage, haunting, and hilarious. Author of three collections, she is a master of tone and compression. Robert Pinsky declared her latest book, Mother Quiet, to be "abrupt, unsettling, artfully distorted, indelible." Rhodes is the founding editor and Director of Four Way Books and teaches at Sarah Lawrence and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Supported by the Program for the Study of Women and Gender

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday, February 23
Poetry Center
7:30 PM

 

   
  Valerie Gillies
  Valerie Gillies

Valerie Gillies, the first woman Makar (Poet Laureate) of Edinburgh, writes poems that are beloved in Scotland, and beyond. She is the author of ten poetry collections, the most recent of which, The Spring Teller, explores the sacred wells and springs of Celtic history. As reported in The Scotsman newspaper, "Valerie Gillies writes like the wind and jinks like a hare in the fields of language."

Presented by the departments of English, Religion, and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday, March 2
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

 

   
  Chase Twichell
  Chase Twichell

In six acclaimed collections of poetry, Chase Twichell manages to be both startling and meditative, exploring the nature of the human mind and the urgencies of our imperiled natural world with what Boston Review called "fierce psychic inquiry and tremendous lyrical gifts." A major voice in contemporary poetry and longtime student of Zen Buddhism, Twichell is the founder of Ausable Press.

ADDITIONAL TWICHELL EVENT:
Thursday, March 4
Poetry Center
7:30 PM

Lecture: "Beyond Words: What Poetry and Zen Have in Common."


Chase Twichell's week-long residency at Smith, featuring workshops, individual student conferences, and a craft lecture Thursday, March 4 (Poetry Center, 7:30 pm) is supported by a gift from Tammis Day (05).

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday, March 23
Poetry Center
7:30 PM

 

   
  Tracy K. Smith
  Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith's Tracy K. Smith's poems treat grief and loss, historical intersections with race and family, and the threshold between childhood and adulthood, prompting Yusef Komunyakaa to write, "Here's a voice that can weave beauty and terror into one breath." Joy Harjo has called her work "a true merging of the ancient roots of poetry with the language of an age of a different kind of sense." Author of two collections, The Body's Question and Duende, and recipient of many honors, Smith teaches creative writing at Princeton.

Supported by the Program for the Study of Women and Gender

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday, April 6
Neilson Browsing Room
7:30 PM

 

   
 

Sara London


Peggy O'Brien

 
Sara London

Sara London's first book, The Tyranny of Milk, is as fresh and quirky as its title, and brims with what Terrance Hayes has called "clear-eyed utterance." Journalist, editor, and graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she currently teaches creative writing and literature at Mt. Holyoke College; she has also taught at Amherst, and, for many years, at Smith.












Peggy O'Brien

Praised by the Irish Times for writing that is "subtle, elusive and tinged with erotic intensity," Peggy O'Brien is the editor of the Wake Forest Book of Irish Women's Poetry and a member of the English Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. To borrow one of her own phrases, her new collection, Frog Spotting, is an 'adventure of the optic nerve.'

Presented by the Department of English Language & Literature

 
     

 

 

 
 

Wednesday, April 14
Poetry Center
4:15 PM

 

   
 
  Richard Fein

"A Life in Yiddish: Adventures of Translator-Poet"

Professor emeritus of English at SUNY, New Paltz, Richard Fein is the author of seven volumes of poetry, including Kafka's Ear, winner of the Maurice English Award. His latest book, With Everything We've Got: A Personal Anthology of Yiddish, is a collection of translations of Yiddish poetry from Eastern Europe, the Americas, and the Soviet Union that also includes original poems inspired by his favorite Yiddish poets. In addition, Fein has published a memoir of Yiddish (The Dance of Leah), translated the leading American Yiddish modernist poet Yankev Glatshteyn into English, and authored a critical study on Robert Lowell. He served as Fulbright Professor of American Literature at the University of Madras.

Presented by Jewish Studies

 
     

 

 

 
 

Tuesday, April 20
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall
7:30 PM

 

   
  Ko Un
  Ko Un

The most prolific Korean living writer, praised by Allen Ginsberg as "a magnificent poet," Ko Un is a beloved cultural figure who has helped to shape contemporary literature. Ko Un's remarkable life is reflected in the many lives his literary output embodies—peasant, village boy and student, army conscript, Sôn monk, schoolteacher, depressive, political activist arrested and imprisoned many times, and author of more than one hundred volumes of poetry, fiction, essays, translations, and drama. He is frequently mentioned as a potential candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

David McCann, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature at Harvard University, will introduce Ko Un and give a short talk on his poetry in the context of Korean literature.

Supported by the Lecture Committee, the Ada Howe Kent Fund, the Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures, the Korean American Students of Smith, and the Daesan Foundation.

 
     

 

 

 
     

 

 

 
  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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Martha Rhodes Valerie Gillies Chase Twichell Tracy K. Smith Sara London Peggy O'Brien Ko Un Smith College Smith College Smith College
Matthew Dickman Mary Oliver Susan Stewart T.S. Ellis Michael Dickman Smith College Smith College Smith College