Other Local Poetry Events

Archive of Readings


"The visible drapes itself around the invisible"

- Dan Gerber








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







AMAL AL-JUBOURI's poems pierce deeply, landing swift as arrows in the expansive and unsteady landscape of human experience. A crucial voice in contemporary Iraqi and Arabic-language poetry, author of five collections, and translated into 12 languages, al-Jubouri has just now arrived to English,
with Hagar Before the Occupation, Hagar After the Occupation. These pairs of before/after poems offer a meditation on the tremendous upheaval of a nation and its people, set against the backdrop of Hagar's ancient history and the story of Hagar since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Described by Gerald Stern
as “courageous, honest, bitter, and beautiful,” and listed by Library Journal as a best book of 2011, Hagar was translated by Rebecca Howell with Husam Qaisi.

REBECCA GAYLE HOWELL holds a combined MFA in poetry and poetry in translation from Drew University and is the recipient of the Jules Chametzky Prize in Literary Translation, a poetry fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center, and long term support from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Her artful translation of al-Jubouri was one of six collections of poetry shortlisted for the 2012 Best Translated Book Awards

Supported the Betty Hamady Sams ’57 and James F. Sams Fund, The Global Studies Center, and the Five-College Faculty Seminar on Literary Translation











Tuesday, October 16
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:00 PM





Described by Eileen Myles as “a poet of flashing clarity and intimacy and pitch perfect enunciations,” JOAN LARKIN intertwines intensity of subject and mastery of craft with incredible agility. One part grit, two parts heart, her language seeks truth and ushers forth a necessary curiosity to move beyond the surfaces of things, uncovering what is most intimate. Larkin is the author of three books of poems in addition to My Body: New & Selected Poems, and the recently released chapbook, Legs Tipped with Small Claws. Her
many honors include two Lambda Literary Awards and the 2011 Academy of American Poets Fellowship.

She is the current Grace Hazard Conkling Poet in Residence at Smith.









  Tuesday, October 30 
Stoddard Hall Auditorium 
7:30 PM






Formerly a professional racecar driver, high school teacher, journalist, and corporate executive, DAN GERBER is the celebrated author of three novels, numerous essays and short stories, and eight books of poetry, most recently A Primer on Parallel Lives and Sailing to Cassiopeia, both from Copper Canyon Press. With unusual grace and precision, his poems ask us to give our attention to those seemingly ordinary experiences that punctuate our lives and can stir our deepest reserves of wisdom and understanding. Rain Taxi praised the way Gerber “tenderly reels his readers through the ‘beautiful movie’ he calls the passing of time on earth in a language completely unadorned and Zen-like in its quietude."

Presented by the Department of Religion







Tuesday, November 13th 
Stoddard Hall Auditorium 
7:30 PM




MARTHA COLLINS continues to probe the most brutal and troubling parts of America's national past. Following in the courageous vein of Blue Front, her book-length poem about a lynching witnessed by her father in 1909, Collins’s most recent collection, White Papers, addresses what it means to be "white" in a multi-racial society that continues to live under the influence of its deeply racist past. Thomas Sayers Ellis praised it as “honest and powerful.” Collins’s four earlier books wrestle with domestic violence, political deception and war. An editor at Oberlin College Press and Field magazine, she has also co-translated three volumes from Vietnamese.









Tuesday, December 4 
Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM





Born in Kingston, Jamaica SHARA MCCALLUM is a self-described Caribbean, Jamaican, American, African-American, West Indian woman writer. Her poems are infused with a rich multiplicity, weaving together identity and geography and drawing full breaths from history, memory, and song. Acclaimed by
Elizabeth Alexander for her “innovative music” and by Toi Derricotte for portraying “agonizing separations and distances,” McCallum is the author of four books, including This Strange Land, from Alice James, and The Face of Water: New & Selected Poems. Awarded a 2011 NEA Poetry Fellowship, she directs the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University.















While the pace at the Poetry Center slows once the academic year ends, we do a good deal of advance work over the summer months: preparing our annual letter, finalizing details of the new season, immersing ourselves in poems by our upcoming visitors, writing bio sketches and preparing publicity.

This year we’re also involved in two collaborative projects that have us reading tons of poems that feature the natural world: we’re searching for engaging lines to be inscribed in and around the new building at the MacLeish Field Station, and we’re gathering poems about spring bulbs to be part of an exhibit during the Botanic Garden’s 2013 Spring Bulb Show.

Now that you have our fall flyer in hand, you, too, can ‘prep for poetry,’ which will make for an even richer experience of this amazing line-up—You can read their sample poems and extended biographies on our website… You can find more information and links to upcoming (and past) Poetry Center readers on Neilson Library’s website** …. You can stop by Broadside Bookshop to browse—and be enticed to buy—their books…. You can email to sign
up for our weekly email listing of local poetry events, including a heads-up when Bill Newman will be interviewing one or another of our poets a day on his 9:00 AM radio show (WHMP) …. Or, if you prefer the surprise blast of sudden immersion in poetry, you can simply come on down and listen.

But do take a minute to enter these dates on your calendar and/or post the flyer on your fridge, so you’re sure not to miss any of the events!

We hope our series anchors your connection to contemporary poetry and expands the range of what you listen to and read. Please consider sending a gift—just as you depend on us, we depend on you!

** upcoming poet:
past poets:



  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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