June 15, 2009

Summer Poetry Readings from the Lawns to the Rooftops

Summer Poetry Readings from the Lawns to the Rooftops of Central Park

The Academy of American Poets presents a summer full of verse set against the shimmering cityscape and the rolling green of Central Park. The season opens on June 18, 2009, with an evening of poetry at SummerStage, and continues just across the park with Poetry from the Rooftops, a set of four evening readings presented on the recently renovated rooftop of the Arsenal Building at Central Park.

All events are free and open to the public.
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Central Park SummerStage Reading:
Elizabeth Alexander, Thomas Sayers Ellis, and Sharon Olds
Moderated by Stephen Burt

Thursday, June 18
7:00 p.m.
Rumsey Playfield in Central Park
Co-presented by Central Park SummerStage and the City Parks Foundation
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Poetry from the Rooftops

Ching-In Chen, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, and Daniel Tobin
Thursday, June 25
6:30 p.m.
Arsenal Building Rooftop, Central Park

Lytton Smith, Priscilla Sneff, and Rebecca Wolff
Thursday, July 9
6:30 p.m.
Arsenal Building Rooftop, Central Park

Laynie Browne, Cynthia Cruz, and Valzhyna Mort
Thursday, August 20
6:30 p.m.
Arsenal Building Rooftop, Central Park

Arda Collins, Fady Joudah, and Jonathan Thirkield
Thursday, September 10
6:30 p.m.
Arsenal Building Rooftop, Central Park
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Locations:

SummerStage: Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Enter at E. 69th Street and 5th Avenue or at W. 72nd Street and Central Park West.

Poetry from the Rooftops: The rooftop of the Arsenal Building at Central Park, at 64th Street and 5th Avenue (next to the zoo).

Rain Venue: Poetry from the Rooftops readings will be moved inside the Arsenal Building.
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More Events Around the City:

Laurie Sheck
Tuesday, June 23
6:30 p.m.
Free; Reservations suggested. Email info@mercantilelibrary.org
The Mercantile Library Center for Fiction
17 E. 47th Street (between 5th Avenue and Madison)
Presented by the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction.
Co-sponsored by the Academy of American Poets.

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About the Poets:

Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher. She composed and delivered "Praise Song for the Day" for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Her books of poetry include The Venus Hottentot (Graywolf, 1990), Body of Life (1996), Antebellum Dream Book (2001), and American Sublime (2005), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was one of the American Library Association’s "Notable Books of the Year."

Laynie Browne was the recipient of the 2007 National Poetry Series award, and is the author of several collections, including The Scented Fox (Wave Books, 2007), Original Presence (Shivistan Books, 2006), and Drawing of a Swan Before Memory (University of Georgia Press, 2005), winner of the Contemporary Poetry Series.

Ching-In Chen is the author of The Heart's Traffic (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press, 2009). Her poems have appeared in Tea Party, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and OCHO, and are forthcoming in Iron Horse Literary Review, Water-Stone Review, and the anthology Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves.

Arda Collins is the author of It is Daylight (Yale University, 2009), which won the 2008 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and A Public Space, among others. She is an editor of the online poetry journal GutCult.

Cynthia Cruz is the author of Ruin (Alice James Books, 2009). Her poems have appeared in the Paris Review, Boston Review, Pleiades, Black Warrior Review, among others, and have been anthologized in Isn't it Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger Poets and The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries.

Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of The Maverick Room (Graywolf, 2005), which was awarded the 2006 John C. Zacharis First Book Award. He is also the author of The Good Junk (1996); a chapbook The Genuine Negro Hero (Kent State University Press, 2001); and the chaplet Song On (WinteRed Press 2005). His latest work, Breakfast and Blackfist: Notes for Black Poets, is forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press, Poets on Poetry Series.

Fady Joudah is the author of The Earth in the Attic (Yale University, 2008), which won the 2007 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. He translated the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish in The Butterfly's Burden, which was a finalist for the 2008 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.

Valzhyna Mort's collections include Factory of Tears (Copper Canyon, 2008) and I’m as Thin as Your Eyelashes (Belarus, 2005). She was born in Belarus and composes her work in Belarusian and English. She has been the recipient of the Crystal of Vilenica award in Slovenia in 2005 and the Burda Poetry Prize in Germany in 2008.

Sharon Olds is the author of Satan Says (1980), which received the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. Olds's following collection, The Dead & the Living (1983), received the Lamont Poetry Selection in 1983 and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other collections include Strike Sparks: Selected Poems (2004, Knopf), The Unswept Room (2002), Blood, Tin, Straw (1999), The Gold Cell (1997), The Wellspring (1995), and The Father (1992), which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She teaches at New York University.

Laurie Sheck's most recent collection, A Monster's Notes (Knopf, 2009), is a hybrid work which examines the nonfiction elements of Mary Shelley’s life. Her other works include five books of poetry, including Captivity (2007) and The Willow Grove (1996), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Boston Review. She teaches in the MFA Program at the New School and lives in New York City.

Lytton Smith is the author of The All-Purpose Magical Tent (Nightboat Books, 2009), which was selected by Terrance Hayes for the Nightboat Prize. In 2007, his chapbook, Monster Theory, was chosen by Kevin Young for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. His poems and reviews have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, The Atlantic, The Believer, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Tin House, Verse, and the anthology All That Mighty Heart: London Poems.

Priscilla Sneff is the author of O Woolly City (Tupelo, 2009), for which she received the Kenyon Review/Zoo Press first book poetry prize. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and currently teaches writing at Tufts University.

Jonathan Thirkield is the author of The Waker's Corridor (LSU, 2008), selected by Linda Bierds for the 2008 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. His poems have appeared in WebConjunctions, New American Writing, American Letters & Commentary, and Verse, among others.

Daniel Tobin's poetry collections include, most recently, Second Things (Four Way Books, 2008). His work has been widely anthologized, and he has been the recipient of numerous honors, including the "Discovery" / The Nation Award, the Robert Penn Warren Award, the Robert Frost Fellowship, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon's books of poetry include Open Interval (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), and Black Swan (2002), which won the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Her work has been widely anthologized, and she is currently an assistant professor of English at Cornell University.

Rebecca Wolff is the author of The King (Norton, 2009) and Figment (2004). Her first book of poems, Manderley (University of Illinois, 2001) was selected by Robert Pinsky for the National Poetry Series. She was the recipient of the 2003 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and is currently the editor of Fence.

About the Summer Reading Series
The Academy of American Poets continues its annual outdoors reading series in partnership with the the City Parks Foundation and Central Park SummerStage. To learn more, please visit: www.poets.org/events

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See NJ Poets & Poetry calendar below for additional poetry events. Listing is not an endorsement of event, attend at your sole discretion.

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