Tanning 101: A Celebration of Dorothea Tanning's Life & Work

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Sep 15 2011

September 12, 2011—The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that a celebration will be held at New York's Museum of Modern Art on October 3, 2011, to honor the 101 year-old artist and writer Dorothea Tanning, whose second book of poems, Coming To That, was published by Graywolf Press this month. Poets Richard Howard, J.D. McClatchy, Brenda Shaughnessy, Mark Strand, and Rosanna Warren, along with Chief MoMA curator Ann Temkin, will read selections of Tanning's poetry and discuss her work and fascinating life. The event, Tanning 101: A Celebration of Dorothea Tanning's Life and Work in Poetry, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the museum's Celeste Bartos Theater. It is co-sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, Graywolf Press, and the Poetry Society of America.

"As with everything else [Tanning] has turned her hand to, she's made poetry her own. . . . I've never met her, but simply knowing of her existence expands my sense of the possible in art and life." —Barry Schwabsky, The Nation

In her new book of poetry, Tanning illuminates the concept of creativity, the impulse to make, and the longevity of art. Her unique wit and candor radiate through every poem, every line, and her inquisitive mind is everywhere alive and restless. As she writes in one poem, "If Art would only talk it would, at last, reveal / itself for what it is, what we all burn to know."

Dorothea Tanning began working as a painter in New York, after discovering Dada and Surrealism at the Museum of Modern Art in 1936. As she recounts in her memoirs, when the famed German artist Max Ernst visited her studio in 1942, they played chess, fell in love, and embarked on a life together that soon took them to Sedona, Arizona, and later to Paris and provincial France. She married Ernst in 1946 in a double wedding with artist Man Ray and dancer Juliet Browner. After Ernst's death in 1976, Tanning returned to New York City, where she has lived ever since. She is the author of the poetry collection, A Table of Content (2004); two memoirs, Birthday (1986) and Between Lives: An Artist and Her World (2001); and a novel, Chasm (2004). Her poems appear regularly in The Yale Review, Poetry, The Paris Review, and The New Yorker. Her paintings and sculptures are included in major museum collections such as the Tate Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, the Musée de la Ville de Paris, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Chicago Art Institute, among others.

The Academy of American Poets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1934 to foster appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, the most popular site about poetry on the web; the Poetry Audio Archive; American Poet, a biannual literary journal; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. The Academy also awards prizes to accomplished poets at all stages of their careers. For more information, visit www.poets.org.

Graywolf Press is an independent, not-for-profit publisher, based in Minneapolis, MN, dedicated to the creation and promotion of thoughtful and imaginative contemporary literature: award-winning literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translations, and more. For more information, visit www.graywolfpress.org

The Poetry Society of America, the nation's oldest poetry organization, was founded in 1910 for the purpose of creating a public forum for the advancement, enjoyment, and understanding of poetry. Through a diverse array of programs, initiatives, contests, and awards, the Poetry Society of America works to build a larger audience for poetry, to encourage a deeper appreciation of the art, and to place poetry at the crossroads of American life. For more information, visit www.poetrysociety.org.


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