Posts Tagged ‘geraldine r dodge poetry festival’


(Pictured, left to right: Fanny Howe, Juan Philipe Herrera, Raúl Zurita, Daniel Borzutsky, Nikky Finney, moderator)

Description from the 2012 Festival’s guide:

Some poets take the position that poetry must address the political and social issues of its time. Others believe political debate has no place in poetry. Most, even those who don’t write political poems themselves, agree that if a political matter is of personal importance to a particular poet, it is a valid topic for their poetry. Festival Poets consider how and when poetry might/might not be called upon to bear witness.

What actually happened:
To paraphrase Juan Felipe Herrera, “Tenderness encouraging tenderness, making things that haven’t been said come to light.” If ever there was a panel that could bring about tears from sympathy and thumps of the heart drum from inspiration, this was it. The discussion was so enthralling, I completely forgot to take notes! The urgency behind Zurita’s reading in Spanish, the call to stop being polite in writing (literature having been defined as “polite writing”) to affect positively one’s local community, and to further that and take back the entire world. Large aspirations for such small groups words as poems, but the way the panelists spoke and read and bantered could be enough to sway any borderline heart to compassion (and hopefully action based upon that compassion). Don’t let me tell you how you should b affected. Listen* for yourself and get affected! Then maybe, if you think more discussions like this should take place, go donate a few bucks to the Foundation that made it possible.

Know your voices:
First speaker – moderator
Second speaker – Raúl Zurita
Third speaker – Daniel Borzutsky (translating for Raúl Zurita)
Fourth speaker – Nikky Finney
Fifth speaker – Fanny Howe
Sixth Speaker – Juan Felipe Herrera

*This recording is not sanctioned by the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival or its associated Foundation and is solely offered in faith that 1) no-one reads this blog anyway, 2) it was for the benefit of poetry and those who appreciate poetry that the event took place, and 3) supposedly the Foundation’s own YouTube channel will soon offer coverage of this event anyhoo. In short: please don’t sue. Email me, and I will remove the link permanently as well as delete the files in question from their source.


(Pictured, left to right: Jane Hirshfield, Henri Cole, Arthur Sze)

Description from the 2012 Festival’s guide:

There is a quality of mindfulness, of staying present in the present, that poetry can foster in us, can sometimes require of us. Even a four hundred year old poem requires this kind of presence from us. This may have been what Mark Strand had in mind when he wrote that we must “slow down for poetry.” Festival Poets explore how this slowing down, this quality of presence and attentiveness, is essential to poetry, and also seems deeply connected to how we remain alive in the world with open eyes, ears, heart and mind.

What actually happened:
Due to a missed train, we join in progress a Conversation between audience and poets that wanders between presence of poet in poet, of poet in their writing, of poet in world and vice-versa. How do the inclinations of introverts reflect something essential enough to the outside world as to reap an effect from those who give their presence to it? Why does it seem lyric poems epitomize presence? The most wonderful aspect of this panel was the degree of influence the poets seemed to have on each other, often leaving the next to speak dumbfounded for having exposed a greater truth…like reading a poem. Give a listen! Then maybe, if you think more discussions like this should take place, go donate a few bucks to the Foundation that made it possible.

Know your voices:
First speaker – Henri Cole
Second speaker – Jane Hirshfield
Third speaker – Arthur Sze

*This recording is not sanctioned by the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival or its associated Foundation and is solely offered in faith that 1) no-one reads this blog anyway, 2) it was for the benefit of poetry and those who appreciate poetry that the event took place, and 3) supposedly the Foundation’s own YouTube channel will soon offer coverage of this event anyhoo. In short: please don’t sue. Email me, and I will remove the link permanently as well as delete the files in question from their source.


(Pictured, left to right: Narubi Selah, Nikky Finney, Joseph Millar, Gregory Orr)

Description from the 2012 Festival’s guide:

“Can poetry matter?” would not be asked by anyone who has ever attended, performed in, produced or organized any of the open mikes, poetry jams or slams that have sprung up in community centers, church basements, libraries, bookstores and coffee shops all across the country. At these events it is immediately, powerfully obvious how crucial this avenue for self-expression and self-discovery is for many of our young people. This conversation will explore how and where poetry matters for individuals and societies.

What actually happened:
A brief apology: this Conversation was recorded* in a different (very echo-prone) venue with a heavy breather leaning over my recorder. The sound is a bit softer than the other recordings posted thus far and picked up a lot of creaking pews, knocks, and restlessness. That said, it’s worth your while to listen closely. You’ll hear Nikky Finney talk about poetry as witness to all that is happening around us, as force that helps us build alongside others. You’ll hear Joseph Millar talk about influencing and enabling a community’s curiosity. After a quote from Kunitz, Gregor Orr intimately expounds on how poetry is a safe place to mold secrets as well as experience them. Narubi Selah will extend poetry’s realm of pertinent influence to empowerment via self-fulfillment, conscience, and consciousness. And then, all four start honing in on a metaphor that brings everyone’s views together. After you listen, if you think more discussions like this should take place, maybe go and donate a few bucks to the Foundation that made it possible.

Know your voices:
First speaker – Nikky Finney
Second speaker – Joseph Millar
Third speaker – Gregory Orr
Fourth speaker – Narubi Selah

*This recording is not sanctioned by the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival or its associated Foundation and is solely offered in faith that 1) no-one reads this blog anyway, 2) it was for the benefit of poetry and those who appreciate poetry that the event took place, and 3) supposedly the Foundation’s own YouTube channel will soon offer coverage of this event anyhoo. In short: please don’t sue. Email me, and I will remove the link permanently as well as delete the files in question from their source.


(Pictured, left to right: Larissa Szporluk, Aurthur Sze, Rachel McKibbens, Terrance Hayes)

Description from the 2012 Festival’s guide:

Adrienne Rich wrote there is no such thing as an “American Poetry.” Instead, there are American Poetries, so many divergent schools that no single style or aesthetic can be singled out as the definitively “American” one. Festival Poets consider what we might gain from this diversity and by listening more closely to each other.

What actually happened:
I arrived a tad late, so I (and you, vicariously) missed the first poem read by Terrance Hayes. Most poets thereafter read one poem of their own and one from an international author. This set the tone for discussing the influence of international authors on American poetry, which led to points on the safety experienced by writers in America and what that means for their writing. Other talking points included the breakdown of the Academic wall’s standardized style and the rise of new voices. Most of the panel kept coming back to influences, and most of the influences mentioned were foreign, thus why I asked the last question in the Q&A about which qualities of American writing the panelists would consider valuable to the rest of the world. You don’t want to miss any of this discussion, so check out its entirety below*. It’s well worth the listen! Then maybe, if you think more discussions like this should take place, go donate a few bucks to the Foundation that made it possible.

Know your voices:
First speaker – Terrance Hayes
Second speaker – Rachel McKibbens
Third speaker – Arthur Sze
Fourth speaker – Larissa Szporluk

*This recording is not sanctioned by the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival or its associated Foundation and is solely offered in faith that 1) no-one reads this blog anyway, 2) it was for the benefit of poetry and those who appreciate poetry that the event took place, and 3) supposedly the Foundation’s own YouTube channel will soon offer coverage of this event anyhoo. In short: please don’t sue. Email me, and I will remove the link permanently as well as delete the files in question from their source.


(Pictured, left to right: Timothy Liu, Henri Cole, Dan Bellm)

Description from the 2012 Festival’s guide:

“From Sappho to Whitman to Ginsberg to Rich, poetry as we know it would not exist without the contributions of the gay community. No doubt members of the gay community, like those of many other minorities, have found and forged some of their sense of community through the shared experiences and feelings communicated through poetry. How personal pride is discovered and fostered through poetry and the poetry community will be part of this conversation.”

What actually happened:
Not to harp on what wasn’t, but one of the scheduled panelists, Nikky Finney (pictured right), could not make it. This made the discussion rather lopsided in terms of which sex had its say, or as Henri Cole put it, a “matterhorn of cock.” Despite the panel being comprised entirely of males, there was a great diversity in personal experience and perspective … especially when the audience Q&A got rolling. Going in alphabetical order, each poet took turns revealing which poets/poems spoke to them initially, providing comfort in an openness and community which they had yet to know. One of the highlights of the discussion was Timothy Liu likening homosexuality to poetry in that both are something undefinable and affective but not necessarily without reason, a force that brings together the spiritual and the sexual. Another rather fascinating point was brought up by Dan Bellm, when he said the sense of community he’s experienced has existed less in flesh and blood than on the page, referring to a camaraderie he’s felt with poetry written by and reflecting the gay perspective rather than with most people in the world-at-large. Questions from the audience also brought up a lot of good talking points, so go ahead and check out the entirety of the discussion and Q&A below. It’s well worth the listen! Then maybe, if you think more discussions like this should take place, go donate a few bucks to the Foundation that made this possible.

Know your voices:
First speaker – Dan Bellm
Second speaker – Henri Cole
Third speaker – Timothy Liu

*This recording is not sanctioned by the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival or its associated Foundation and is solely offered in faith that 1) no-one reads this blog anyway, 2) it was for the benefit of poetry and those who appreciate poetry that the event took place, and 3) supposedly the Foundation’s own YouTube channel will soon offer coverage of this event anyhoo. In short: please don’t sue. Email me, and I will remove the link permanently as well as delete the files in question from their source.