Milosz Centenary Festival: Readings
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011
RECEPTION 5:30 p.m.; DINNER 6:00 p.m.; LECTURE 6:45 p.m. FOUNDERS ROOM, BAUER CENTER
Robert Pinsky's first two terms as United States Poet Laureate were marked by such visible dynamism, and such national enthusiasm in response, that the Library of Congress appointed him to an unprecedented third term. Throughout his career, Pinsky has been dedicated to identifying and invigorating poetry's place in the world.
As Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of Americans of varying backgrounds, all ages, and from every state, shared their favorite poems. Pinsky believed that, contrary to stereotype, poetry had a vigorous presence in the American cultural landscape. The project documents that presence, giving voice to the American audience for poetry. The anthology Americans' Favorite Poems, which includes letters from project participants, is in its 18th printing. Elegant and tough, vividly imaginative, Pinsky's poems have earned praise for their wild musical energy and ambitious range.
The poetry editor for the online magazine Slate, Pinsky teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University.
C. K. Williams is the author of ten books of poetry, the most recent of which is Wait (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010). Collected Poems (FSG, 2007), features the long arc of Williams' career, from the morbid sanguinities of his apprentice work to the careful, moving, stanzaic focus evident in 21 new poems. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2003, and teaches in the Writing Program at Princeton University.
Williams started writing poetry when he was nineteen, shortly after taking his last required English class at the University of Pennsylvania. "Poetry didn't find me, in the cradle or anywhere near it: I found it," he recalled. "I realized at some point, very late, it's always seemed, that I needed it, that it served a function for me, or someday would, however unclear that function may have been at first." Williams found his voice as a poet in the mid-sixties when writing to a magazine editor about the violence directed against civil rights activists. The process of writing this letter opened up a new way of thinking for Williams, a paradigm for writing all of his poetry.
Williams is known for his daring formal style, marrying perceptive everyday observations to lines so long that they defy the conventions of lyric poetry. His poems often border on the prosaic, inspiring critics to compare them to Walt Whitman's.
Anthony Milosz was born in 1947 in Washington, D.C. He attended public schools and lycee in France, and went on to study linguistics, anthropology, and chemistry at the University of California Berkeley, and neurophysiology and neuropharmacology at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco. Currently Milosz is a hardware and software designer, as well as as a composer and member of the Polish Society for Electroacoustic Music. He recently released "Rzeki", an album of Milosz readings set to music. He has also translated his father Czeslaw's poetry, including the "Last Poems" section of Selected and Last Poems (Ecco Press, Fall 2011).