“Poet's Spring" Series in April Put Francophone Poets in the Spotlight

March 21, 2014 | By French Culture

NEW YORK, March 21, 2014 — The Cultural Services of the French Embassy presents an eclectic series of engaging events in New York in April, featuring prominent Francophone and Anglophone poets such as Rachida Madani, Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, Adonis, Pierre Joris, Ben Lerner, and Anna Moschovakis.  With an insatiable appetite for word play, American poets and French poètes come together to open up a broad reflection on poetic writing and to embark on a discussion of the role of poetry in the often-converging worlds of literature and politics.

Multicultural events will take place at Silvana, the Poets House, McNally Jackson Books, New York University, the Public Theater, and other acclaimed venues, to unveil the complex and innovative nature of poetry.  “Poet’s Spring” incorporates readings, a round table discussion, a master class, live music, political discourse, and illustration, and is inspired by the simultaneously occurring Printemps des poètes festival in France.

Highlights include a reading by Rachida Madani of her Tales of a Severed Head, paired with a traditional Moroccan music performance by Gnawa Boussou, a discussion with poets Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, Ben Lerner and Anna Moschovakis accompanying illustrations by students from School of Visual Arts and a show by the musician Charlie Burnham and a rare Master Class with Syrian author Adonis in conversation with celebrated American poet Jorie Graham at The Public Theater.

The 2014 PEN World Voices Festival will kick off in collaboration with “Poet’s Spring” with an event in which 12 prominent thinkers will bring their rage to the stage for 7-minute orations.

Full program and biographies follow.


“SPRING INTO POETRY” - SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Wednesday, April 16th - 6.30pm
A reading from Rachida Madani’s “Tales of a Severed Head” with Rachida Madani and Pierre Joris, featuring accompaniment by a traditional Moroccan band based in New York, Gnawa Boussou.
Silvana Club - 300 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026

Wednesday, April 23rd – 6pm
This discussion centers on a citation chosen by Pierre Alferi: “a hedge between keeps friendship green.” The event features poets Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, Ben Lerner and Anna Moschovakis, and is interspersed with readings from their work. A show by Charlie Burnham will accompanied, in music, the readings of the poets. Students from the School of Visual Arts will illustrate all the performances.The evening also includes a cocktail hour.
Poets House - 10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282

Friday, April 25th – 2-6pm
Organized by Vincent Broqua, this overview of contemporary poetry translation in the U.S. includes a roundtable discussion and presentation of translated texts. Guest poets include Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, Charles Bernstein, Cole Swensen, Pierre Joris, Tracy Grinnell, and Avital Ronell.
NYU-French Department - 19 University Place, 6th floor, New York, NY 10003

Friday, April 25th - 8pm
A reading with Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, Charles Bernstein, Cole Swensen, Pierre Joris and Tracy Grinnell, presented by Vincent Broqua.
McNally Jackson - 52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

Saturday April 28th- 7-8.30pm
Pen World Voices Opening Night: Twelve Angry Women and Men
Twelve prominent thinkers will each, in turn, bring their rage to the stage for a 7-minute oration – a kind of mini-soliloquy of unrestrained intellectual fury – on the social or political phenomenon of their choosing. This is a rare opportunity to hear about the issues, both macro and micro, which preoccupy the imaginations of these brilliant men and women, and to learn about what they would change immediately if they had the means to do so. Participants include Adonis, Gado, Yahya Hassan, Sofi Oksanen, Colm Toibin and others.
Tickets: $20/$15 PEN Members and Students with valid ID.
The Cooper Union (The Great Hall) - 7 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003

Sunday April 29th- 7-8.30pm
Master class: Adonis and Jorie Graham
In a rare visit to the States, once-imprisoned Syrian author Adonis, considered by many to be the most important Arab poet, will speak with celebrated American poet Jorie Graham.
The first of the 2014 master/class series, this conversation will explore the lyrical and the analytical, the sensuous and the philosophical, and is sure to delight poets and readers alike.
Tickets: $15/$12 PEN & Public Theater Members and Students with valid ID
Buy tickets to all four Master/Class events: $50/$40 at 212-967-7555212-967-7555 or
www.publictheater.org, or visit The Public Theater Box Office at 425 Lafayette Street.
The Public Theater - 425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003


Biographies

Adonis
Adonis (born Ali Ahmad Said Esber) is an award-winning Syrian poet and essayist who led the modernist movement in Arabic poetry in the second half of the twentieth century. His collection, Adonis: Selected Poems, was a finalist for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize. A new collection of poems, Concerto for Jerusalem, will soon be published by Yale University Press.

Pierre Alferi
Pierre Alferi is one of today’s most innovative French poets and the son of philosopher Jacques Derrida. Alferi’s books experiment with linguistic formulas and reflexive writing, without falling into the trap of empty lyricism. In his writing, all categories merge and stretch to compose a form that is constantly reinvented and critically connected to the surrounding world. Alferi's verse is pleasantly irregular, often short with abrupt cuts and breaks, as if to signify a struggle and the refusal of restraint.

Pierre Joris
Pierre Joris is a Luxembourg-American poet, translator, anthologist and essayist.

Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner is an American poet, novelist, essayist and critic. Among many awards , he received in 2013 a Guggenheim Fellow for his work. He is the author of several full-length poetry collections (Mean Free Path (2010), Angle of Yaw (2006)).

Rachida Madani
Rachida Madani, a native of Morocco, has published several volumes of poetry in French, a language she also taught for thirty years. A lifelong political militant, she expresses her resistance "not by shouting slogans and waving banners” but by “fight[ing] with her words.” Tales of a Severed Head (Yale University Press, 2012), translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker, is a finalist for the 2013 Poetry in Translation Award, sponsored by the PEN American Center. It reveals the essence of Madani’s literary endeavor — to highlight storytelling as an empowering act for a modern woman, seeking to define her role in a world plagued by poverty, corruption, human rights abuse, and the lingering effects of colonialism.
Through her writing, Madani also transcends literary stereotypes. Her ‘Scheherazade,’ a voice that Madina splits into many different voices, angrily laments the history of modern Morocco and particularly the fate of its leftist intellectuals.

Anna Moschovakis
Anna Moschovakis is a poet, a translator and an editor. She is the author of two books of poetry and has translated the works of many French writers such as Annie Ernaux and Georges Simenon.

Anne Portugal
Anne Portugal is a French poet who lives and works in Paris. Her recent work Définitif bob, translated by Jennifer Moxley as Absolute Bob (Burning Deck Press), has been the subject of considerable critical and popular interest. Her work is influenced by, and often references, the work of Jacques Roubaud as well as contemporary sources such as instruction booklets and video games.
She published by P.O.L. Editions, Les commodités d’une banquette (1980), De quoi faire un mur (1985), Le plus simple appareil (1992) trad. Norma Cole Kelsey Nude, Dans la reproduction en 2 parties égales des plantes et des animaux (1999) in collaboration with Suzanne Doppelt, Définitif bob (2001) and La formule flirt (2010).
She collaborated with several poetry-reviews such as Banana-split, Action poétique, Zuc, Poésie, If, Détour d’écriture (4 and 7), La revue de littérature générale, Five fingers review (16), Violence of the white page, Read... She was member of editorial board of “Traverses”, the review of Centre Pompidou. She worked on the French public radio France-culture, about contemporary poetry.


ABOUT
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy provides a platform for exchange and innovation between French and American artists, intellectuals, educators, students, the tech community, and the general public. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the US, the Cultural Services develops the cultural economy by focusing on six principal fields of action: the arts, literature, cinema, the digital sphere, French language and higher education. www.frenchculture.org


Media contact for any question or interview requests:
Emilie Cabouat-Peyrache / + 1 (212) 439-1417+ 1 (212) 439-1417 /emilie.cabouat@diplomatie.gouv.fr
Frenchculture.org - @franceinnyc & @FrenchBooksUSA - facebook.com/frenchculture

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