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JOHN ASHBERY POETRY SERIES AT BARD COLLEGE PRESENTS READINGS BY ASHBERY, MARK MCMORRIS, AND LORENZO THOMAS IN MARCH AND CAROLYN FORCHÉ IN APRIL
Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The John Ashbery Poetry Series at Bard offers readings in March by Ashbery, Mark McMorris, and Lorenzo Thomas; and in April by Carolyn Forché. These events are presented by The Bard Center and are free and open to the public.
On Thursday, March 4, at 4:30 p.m., in the Weis Cinema of the Bertelsmann Campus Center, John Ashbery, the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard, and Mark McMorris, associate professor of English at Georgetown University, will read from their recent works.
John Ashbery was made an officer of the Légion d'Honneur by the French government in 2002. He was named poet laureate of New York State for 2001–02. In addition to receiving the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets in 2001, he is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award, a National Book Award, and a Pulitzer Prize for his Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, published in 1975. His newest poetry collection, Chinese Whispers, was published in October 2002. Other collections include As Umbrellas Follow Rain; Your Name Here; Other Traditions; Some Trees; The Tennis Court Oath; Rivers and Mountains; Shadow Train; April Galleons; Hotel Lautréamont; And the Stars Were Shining; Can You Hear, Bird; Wakefulness; and Girls on the Run. Ashbery is also the author of three plays; a novel (with James Schuyler); Reported Sightings: Art Chronicles 1957–1987; articles on art and translation; and verse set to music. Other awards and honors include the Bollingen Prize in Poetry; MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; Common Wealth Award in Literature, Modern Language Association; Horst Bienek Prize, Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, Munich; Antonio Feltrinelli Prize for Literature, Rome; Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, France; Robert Frost Medal, Poetry Society of America; and the Gold Medal for Poetry, American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ashbery also served as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 1988.
Mark McMorris is the author of The Blaze of the Poui (University of Georgia Press, 2003) and other books of poetry. The Cafe at Light is forthcoming in 2004 from Roof Books. His work has appeared in many journals, including Callaloo, Conjunctions, Kenyon Review, and New American Writing, and in the anthologies Ancestral House: the Black Short Story in the Americas and Europe and in An Anthology of New (American) Poetry. McMorris is a recipient of a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative American Poetry from Sun and Moon Press.
On Thursday, March 18, at 4:30 p.m., in the Weis Cinema of the Bertelsmann Campus Center, Lorenzo Thomas, a professor of English at the University of Houston–Downtown, will read from his recent work. His books include Chances Are Few, The Bathers, and Es Gibt Zeugen, collections of poetry, as well as Sing the Sun Up: Creative Writing Ideas from African American Literature and Extraordinary Measures: Afrocentric Modernism and 20th-Century American Poetry, which was named an Outstanding Academic Book for 2001 by Choice magazine. Thomas teaches American literature and creative writing and is director of the Cultural Enrichment Center at the University of Houston–Downtown. His poetry and criticism have appeared in African American Review, Arrowsmith, Blues Unlimited, Living Blues, Partisan Review, Ploughshares, and Popular Music and Society. A regular book reviewer for the Houston Chronicle, he has also contributed scholarly articles to the African American Encyclopedia, American Literary Scholarship and the Dictionary of Literary Biography.
On Thursday, April 8, at 5:00 p.m., in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center, Carolyn Forché, a noted poet and human rights activist is a professor of English and director of creative writing at Skidmore College, will read from her recent work. Forché's first poetry collection, Gathering The Tribes, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award from the Yale University Press. In 1977 she traveled to Spain to translate the work of Salvadoran-exiled poet Claribel Alegría, and upon her return received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which enabled her to travel to El Salvador, where she worked as a human rights advocate. Her second book, The Country Between Us, received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award and was also the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets. Her translation of Alegría's work, Flowers From The Volcano, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 1983; that same year, Writers and Readers Cooperative published El Salvador: Work of Thirty Photographers, for which she wrote the text. In 1991, The Ecco Press published her translations of The Selected Poetry of Robert Desnos (with William Kulik). Her anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, was published by in 1993, and in 1994, her third book of poetry, The Angel of History, was chosen for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. In 1998 in Stockholm, she was given the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award, in recognition of her work on behalf of human rights and the preservation of memory and culture. In April 2000 Curbstone Press published Sorrow, a new book of her translations of Claribel Alegría. She recently completed her fourth book of poems, Blue Hour, and cotranslated Selected Poetry of Mahmoud Darwish. Her articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation, Esquire, Mother Jones, and others. Forché has held three fellowships from the National Endowment Arts, and in 1992 received a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship.
Since 1995, the John Ashbery Poetry Series has brought leading contemporary poets to Bard for readings and discussion in an intimate setting. For further information about the series and upcoming events, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.
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