Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily M. Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The John Ashbery Poetry Series at Bard offers three readings in April by Carolyn Forché; Angus Fletcher; and Ammiel Alcalay, Vanessa Corpuz, and Michelle Naka Pierce. These events are presented by The Bard Center and are free and open to the public.

On Thursday, April 8, at 5:00 p.m., in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center, Carolyn Forché will read from her recent work. A noted poet and human rights activist, Forché is a professor of English and director of creative writing at Skidmore College. Her 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 exiled Salvadoran poet Claribel Alegría. Upon her return she 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 received the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award, in recognition of her work in human rights and the preservation of memory and culture. In April 2000 Curbstone Press published Sorrow, a new book of Alegría translations. 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.

On Tuesday, April 13, at 5:00 p.m., in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center, the distinguished literary critic Angus Fletcher will speak on "The Environment Poem." Professor Fletcher is the author of an acclaimed new study, A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment and the Future of the Imagination, just published by Harvard University Press. This important book traces the emergence of a specifically American poetics, first exemplified by Walt Whitman and coming to fruition in the works of A. R. Ammons and John Ashbery. The book has already received praise from such important figures as Harold Bloom, Helen Vendler, and Susan Stewart. Stewart writes, "In tracing a descriptive line from the architectonics of the Baroque to the discursive poetry of the eighteenth century to Whitman and recent work by Ammons, Ashbery, and others, he presents a fresh vision of the history of poetic forms and links them to their, and our, place in nature. This book will be an illumination to readers of poetry and an inspiration to those who write it. It truly brings news—Fletcher has climbed to the top of the mast and found there, revealed at last, the curvature of the world." Intense, resonant, and deeply literary, this account of an American poetics shows how today’s consumerist and conformist culture subverts the imagination of a free people. Fletcher demonstrates a belief that poetry is central to any coherent vision of life. This program is made possible in part with the support of the Dactyl Foundation and the Flow Chart Foundation.

Three poets—Ammiel Alcalay, Vanessa Corpuz, and Michelle Naka Pierce—will read from their works on Wednesday, April 28, at 4:30 p.m. in room 102 of the F. W. Olin Humanities Building.

A poet, translator, critic, and scholar, Ammiel Alcalay teaches in the Department of Classical, Middle Eastern, and Asian Languages and Cultures at CUNY Queens College and is a member of the faculties of comparative literature, English, and medieval studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. His latest work, from the warring factions, is a book-length poem dedicated to the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. Poetry, Politics & Translation: American Isolation and the Middle East, a lecture he gave at Cornell, was published in 2003 by Palm Press. His other books include After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture; the cairo notebooks; and Memories of Our Future: Selected Essays, 1982–1999. His translations include Sarajevo Blues and Nine Alexandrias by the Bosnian poet Semezdin Mehmedinovic and Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing. His current projects include translation of a Hebrew novel, Outcast, by Shimon Ballas, and a book of essays, Politics & Imagination. He has been a regular contributor to the Village Voice, and his poetry, prose, reviews, critical articles, and translations have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, New Yorker, Time, al-Ahram, New Republic, Grand Street, Conjunctions, Sulfur, and The Nation.

Veronica Corpuz is the former program assistant of the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in New York City. She has taught and been a guest lecturer at Kelly Writers House of the University of Pennsylvania; New York University; and Naropa University. Her work has appeared in Chain, Shiny, Aufgabe, Interlope, and the anthology Cities of Chance: Experimental Poetry from Brazil and the United States. She currently teaches at Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Michelle Naka Pierce has taught at Sakuragaoka koko in Yokohama, the University of New Mexico, and Naropa University, where she is assistant professor and director of the writing center. Her first book of poetry, Tri/Via, coauthored with Veronica Corpuz, is an epistolary exploration into gender, sexuality, and relationships. She is currently working on a book of interviews with women writers on their creative writing pedagogies.

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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This event was last updated on 04-29-2004