"In the sky a cloud goes on naming / and unnaming itself.” pppppppppppp—JENNY GEORGE


Tuesday, February 19, 2019
7:30pm, Weinstein Auditorium

Chen Chen’s debut collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017) was the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Prize, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, selected as a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, and longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award. Chen’s visionary poems address youth, family and love playfully and tenderly, navigating the intersections of queer, Asian-American and immigrant identities. Poets & Writers named Chen in their Inspiration Issue as one of “Ten Poets Who Will Change the World” and The Atlantic featured him in the article “How Poetry Came to Matter Again.” He studied Pacific/Asian/American Studies at Hampshire College and earned his MFA from Syracuse University and his PhD from Texas Tech University.

Supported by the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures


Tuesday, March 5, 2019
7:30pm, Weinstein Auditorium

In her poem “38,” Layli Long Soldier notes that “‘Real’ poems do not ‘really’ require words,” even as her work shows us the vitality, resonance and adaptability of well-chosen language. Her tremendous first book WHEREAS (Graywolf Press, 2017) interrogates and demands justice for the past, present and future of Native people in America. WHEREAS, a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award, won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. Long Soldier is also a recipient of a Lannan Literary Award and a Whiting Award, as well as a National Artist Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Supported by the Smith College Lecture Committee, CEEDS (the Center for the Environment, Ecological Design & Sustainability), the Department of English
Language & Literature, the Department of Government, the Program in American Studies


Tuesday, April 9, 2019
7:30pm, Alumnae House Conference Hall

Judge of the 13th Annual Poetry Prize for High School Girls, Jenny George employs deceptively inviting and delicate language to reveal vivid, multi-layered narrative and descriptive worlds. She crafts elaborate, intimate dreamscapes, writing about touch in “The Miniature Bed” as “opening the dark, / like a match, the sun’s flaring.” She is the author of The Dream of Reason (Copper Canyon, 2018) and has received fellowships from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fund, the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Yaddo. Studying human ecology before earning her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, George’s poetry demonstrates a vivid understanding of human beings and their surrounding worlds. Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, George helps run the Hidden Leaf Foundation, a Buddhist-based social justice organization.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019
7:30pm, Weinstein Auditorium

Deliberate and masterful in their craft, Jane Hirshfield‘s poems invite readers to contemplate the many facets of being. Of Hirshfield’s books, Laura Donnelly writes, “[T]hey waken us through their travels in the elemental; or rather, they waken us to the ways the elemental travels through us.” Hirshfield is the author of ten books of poetry, the most recent of which is 2015’s The Beauty: Poems. She is also the author of two books of essays, and she’s served as the editor of four poetry anthologies. She has received countless awards for her poetry, among them fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and from the Academy of American Poets for distinguished poetic achievement.

Presented as part of the 2018-19 Putting Pen to Palm Leaf series, supported by the Buddhist Studies Program, Poetry Center, Ada Howe Kent Fund, Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, Department of English Language & Literature, Kahn Liberal Arts Institute, Department of Religion, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Five Colleges, Inc.