Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM


Gerald Stern is an American master. His first book was published in his 48th year, earning him instant critical acclaim. His many awards include the Lamont Poetry Prize, a National Book Award for This Time: New & Selected Poems, and the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement. His work – like Whitman’s, a transformative celebration of the stuff of daily existence – is as gritty, lush, rageful, sticky, hilarious, and humbling as life itself.

Supported by the Lecture Committee








Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

B.H. Fairchild's poetic voice was born of the struggle to reconcile his working-class, dustbowl upbringing with the world of the intellect. He is in touch, writes Gerald Stern, “with that America we almost forgot – melancholy, dream-ridden, wistful, ghost-like.” Fairchild’s honors include the Kingsley Tufts and Book Critics Circle awards. As the National Book Award judges’ citation exults, he “risks ugliness to find poetry – yet the ease with which these poems reveal the music in the earthbound cadence of factory life is thrilling and utterly convincing.”




Mary A. Koncel’s tightly focused mini-dramas of whimsy and poignancy appear most recently in No Boundaries: Prose Poems by 24 American Poets, and in a new full-length volume, You Can Tell the Horse Anything. As Lee Upton puts it, “Mary Koncel can tell us anything, and we’ll listen – for each tender, quirky, wild and assured discovery from one of our premier prose poets.” Koncel teaches in the Jacobson Center at Smith College.









Nancy Morejón’s poems are vibrant reflections on the intermingling of Spanish and African cultures in Cuba, on what it means to be a child of both traditions, and on how the bright threads of this heritage are part of the web of the African experience in the Americas. Born in 1944 in Havana to a dock worker and a seamstress, Morejón has received the Critic’s Prize (1986) and Cuba’s National Prize for Literature (2001). Her visit celebrates the publication of Looking Within /Mirar Adentro (2003), a critical bi-lingual anthology representing 46 years of her work.

[Note: Due to Visa difficulties, the poet was unable to travel to the U.S. for this reading. Instead, we held a celebration of Nancy Morejon’s poetry. Patricia Gonzalez, of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, read poems in the original Spanish and distinguished Uruguayan scholar Juanamaría Cordones-Cook—the editor of Looking Within/Mirar Adentro—read the English, providing cultural/historical context and commentary.]









Kim Hye-sun’s poetry first appeared in the early 1980's during one of the most politically oppressive periods of South Korea's recent history. Kim was one of the first women poets to be published in the prestigious Korean journal Literature and Intellect. Her work is a shocking deviation from the Korean tradition in which women are expected to be non-controversial and soft-spoken. Kim is Dean of creative writing at Seoul Arts University.












Henri Cole’s new volume, Middle Earth, is a work both erotic and visionary. Few poets so thrillingly portray the physical world, or man’s creaturely self, or the cycling strain of desire and self-reproach. Cole’s work is singularly concentrated, simultaneously gorgeous and severe. Recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Rome Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Cole was hailed by Harold Bloom as “a central poet of his generation.” He is in his last year as Conkling Writer in Residence at Smith.

Presented by the Department of English Language & Literature






Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Three dynamic voices celebrate Walt Whitman, read favorite passages of his work, as well as their own poems, and speak about his profound influence on poets writing in both English and Spanish.




Martín Espada, author of seven prize-winning poetry collections, has been hailed as "the Latino poet of his generation." Espada's work is often described as a poetry of advocacy; the poems speak, as Whitman's do, "for the rights of them the others are down upon." Espada, who will read a few Whitman selections in Spanish, is also an essayist, translator, and political activist, of whom Russell Banks declared: "his ambition and his achievement remind us of Whitman, where it all begins."


Kate Rushin‘s teaching and readings over the past two decades reflect her commitment to the songs of everyday people. Like Whitman, she hears "America singing"; like Langston Hughes, she is "the darker [sister]," who takes readers with her into "the kitchen," honoring the women who work there nourishing family, community, society. Rushin is author of The Black Back-Ups and the forthcoming Camden Sweet, Lawnside Blues.







Galway Kinnell has been a major figure in American poetry for three decades. His Selected Poems was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. In his introduction to The Essential Whitman, Kinnell acknowledges Whitman as his “principal master,” and critics have noted Kinnell’s Whitmanesque cadences, transcendental philosophy, and personal intensity.
















Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers writes fiery and forthright lyrics that burst from the page into song. Lucille Clifton dubbed Jeffers’s debut collection, The Gospel of Barbecue, “sweet and sassy, hot and biting. Outlandish Blues explores the “blue notes shared by secular and spiritual traditions and features such diverse characters as Dinah Washington and Lot’s Wife. Despair is met with wit, grace, and sweaty honesty: “I don’t write uplifting poems. The uplift is in the survival."





Tim Seibles'
streetwise, syncopated poems zero in on such wide-ranging subjects as basketball, sex, dogs, race, and the inner thoughts of cartoon characters. Seibles moves, as he says, “between the polarities of delight and rage.” Reading Hammerlock, Reginald McKnight testifies, “You'll at times feel bruised, at times made love to. I read a lot of poetry. I've never read poetry like this.” Author of four collections, Seibles teaches in the MFA Program at Old Dominion University.










Helen Hills Hills Chapel
4:00 PM

Daniel Berrigan's considerable literary achievements are often overlooked in the context of his heroic life. A Jesuit priest and social activist, Berrigan has, in addition to his historic acts of civil disobedience, authored over fifty books, including Time Without Number, which won the Lamont Poetry Prize in 1957 and, most recently, And the Risen Bread.

Presented by the English Department and Helen Hills Hills Chapel








Neilson Browsing Room
7:30 PM


David Hinton has been hailed as “simply the best translator of Chinese poetry presently working in English.” His translations of Mencius, Confucius, Hsieh Ling-yun, Bei Dao, T’ao Ch’ien, and Tu Fu have won numerous distinguished awards. Hinton will read from recently released Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China and The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-Jan, and talk about the cosmology and the deep ecological worldview the poems embody. He’ll also read poems of his own from Fossil Sky.

Co-sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures







Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Marie Howe writes with stunning simplicity and intimacy. “Poetry,” she says, “is telling something to someone.” Howe’s bravery in laying bare the music of her own pain is part of the resonance of her poems, described by her mentor, Stanley Kunitz, as “luminous, intense, eloquent.” Howe’s most recent collection, What the Living Do, is in large part a personal elegy to her brother John, who died of AIDS. With Michael Klein, she co-edited In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic.






Marie Ponsot’s verse is both naked and elegant, and frequently darts off in unexpected directions. She has always been fiercely independent. Decades passed between the publication of Ponsot’s first and second books; in the interim she was busy translating thirty-seven books from French and raising seven children. Since then, The Bird Catcher has won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and her new and selected poems, Springing, is gaining wide acclaim. Earthy and erudite, sprightly and wise, at age 82 this native New Yorker is finally receiving her due.

Supported by the Smith College Lecture Committee






Seelye 207
7:30 PM



"Geoffrey Brock’s translations of the great Italian writer Cesare Pavese’s last poems, Disaffections: Complete poems 1930-1950, won the PEN Center USA Translation Award, and many other honors. Rosanna Warren hailed them as “true poems in English: poems that have the density, the grit, the obdurate presentness hewn from silence for which Pavese fought so hard in Italian.” A Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Brock will also read his own poems, which have appeared widely in journals.

Presented by the Department of Italian






Stoddard Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Michael Palmer explores – in poems startlingly lyrical and haunting – the nature of language and its relation to form, meaning, society, and notions of self. Publishers Weekly called his most recent volume, Promises of Glass, “superbly strange, sharply provocative, full of slippery acoustic pleasures.” At the forefront of the avant-guard movement, and one of America’s most important poets, Palmer has also written many radio plays, and is active as an editor and translator, as well as a frequent collaborator on dance works and performances. He lives in San Francisco.

Supported by the Smith College Lecture Committee








Wright Hall Auditorium
7:30 PM

Louise Glück’s exquisitely controlled book-length lyric sequences dazzle and disturb. Robert Hass calls her “one of the purest and most accomplished lyric poets now writing,” while Edward Hirsch praises her “oracular voice, fierce imagination, and unsparing vision,” and Robert Pinsky notes her “ruthless breathtaking originality.” A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Glück has received countless distinguished honors, including the Bollingen Poetry Prize and the Pulitzer Prize. She is currently the series judge for the Yale Series of Younger Poets and Poet Laureate of the U.S.

Supported by Peggy Block Danziger ’62 & Richard Danziger





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