American Poetry Today

Saturday, November 18th, 2017 at 2:30pm

Past Event

The American poet Ezra Pound proclaimed that “Poetry is news that stays news!” On a different note, his contemporary William Carlos Williams said that “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.”

Do modernist maxims such as these also define the ever-expanding range and diversity of poetry today? Which poets are doing interesting or important work? Who are the earlier poets that inspired them? And what is the nature, role, appeal and significance of contemporary poetry? When it comes to grasping experiences and communicating their meaning, what does this art form provide that fiction, journalism, academic writing, film, and other genres do not? Indeed, in this age of sociopolitical turmoil, Internet overload, media saturation, and often chaotic or reductive thinking, in what sense does poetry offer deeper, more gratifying kinds of engagement?

In response to questions such as these, a roundtable of diverse and accomplished poets will discuss what is going on in the poetry world today. They will explore the allure and value of contemporary poetry through different lenses—conceptual, musical, visual, literary, sociopolitical, and psychological. (The second part of the program will consist of a lively Q & A.)

This event will be curated by Anne-Marie Levine, Chair of the Arts and Humanities Committee at the Helix Center for Interdiscipliary Investigation.


Patricia Carlin received her Ph.D. from Princeton University, focusing on Shakespeare studies, and poetry and poetics. Her most recent poetry collection, Second Nature, appeared in May 2017. Previous books include Quantum Jitters and Original Green, poetry collections, and Shakespeare’s Mortal Men, a study of Shakespeare’s plays in their cultural context. She has published widely in… read more »

Amy Holman is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet and a literary consultant. Her collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window was described by one reviewer as “part freak show, part searing insight”. She is also the author of four poetry chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait For Me, I’m Gone, from Dream Horse Press. Her poems… read more »

PAOLO JAVIER’s collaboration with Listening Center (David Mason) appeared as a limited edition book/cassette, Ur’lyeh/Aklopolis, published by Texte und Töne in early 2017. A featured artist in MoMA PS1’s 2015 Greater NY Show, he is the author of four full-length collections of poetry, including Court of the Dragon (Nightboat Books 2015), which Publisher’s Weekly calls “a linguistic time machine”. A new chapbook, Maybe the… read more »

Stephen Massimilla is a poet, scholar, professor, and painter. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing and Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature, with a focus on poetry, from Columbia University. His new multi-genre volume, Cooking with the Muse (Tupelo, 2016), won the Eric Hoffer Book Award, the National Indie Excellence Award, and others. His previous… read more »

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