Fall Conversation Series

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Each fall, the Academy of American Poets presents a free series of conversations exploring how different art forms engage with poetry. These conversations pair some of today’s most intriguing poets with accomplished artists, dancers, chefs, and actors. This year, we're pleased to be presenting our series in partnership with Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. This series is supported by an Action Grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.

Past Events

Yusef Komunyakaa and Cécile McLorin Salvant
November 14, 7-8 p.m.
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby St, New York, NY
Free and open to the public

Yusef Komunyakaa and Cécile McLorin Salvant
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa in conversation with Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant.

Yusef Komunyakaa is the author of numerous collections of poetry, most recently The Emperor of Water Clocks (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015). His honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the Wallace Stevens Award. Komunyakaa is a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and is currently Distinguished Senior Poet in New York University’s graduate creative writing program. He lives in New York City.

Cécile McLorin Salvant has been described by The New York Times as “the finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade.” In 2009, after a series of concerts in Paris, she recorded her first album “Cécile,” with Jean-François Bonnel’s Paris Quintet. A year later, she won the Thelonious Monk competition in Washington D.C. In 2014, her second album, “Woman Child” was nominated for a Grammy. Her third album, “For One To Love,” won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2016.


Anne Waldman and Meredith Monk
October 17, 7-8 p.m.
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby St, New York, NY
Free and open to the public

Anne Waldman and Meredith Monk
Composer and choreographer Meredith Monk in conversation with American Book Award-winning poet Anne Waldman.

Meredith Monk is a Grammy-nominated composer, singer, director/choreographer and creator of new opera, music-theater works, films, and installations. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, Monk’s work has been presented by BAM, Lincoln Center Festival, and London’s Barbican Centre, among other major venues around the world. Her many honors include a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, three Obie Awards, and two Bessie Awards for Sustained Creative Achievement. In 2014, Monk also received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama.

Anne Waldman is the author of over forty books of poetry, most recently Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet To Be Born (Coffee House Press, 2016). Her numerous honors include the American Book Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award, the Dylan Thomas Memorial Award, and the Shelley Memorial Award. Waldman is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and is the director of the MFA Writing and Poetics program at the Naropa Institute. She divides her time between Boulder, Colorado, and New York City.
 


Sam Durant and Robin Coste Lewis

September 23, 7-8 p.m.
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby St, New York, NY
Free and open to the public

Robin Coste Lewis and Sam Durant
Multimedia artist Sam Durant in conversation with National Book Award-winning poet Robin Coste Lewis.

Sam Durant is a multimedia artist whose works engage a variety of social, political, and cultural issues. Often referencing American history, his work explores the varying relationships between culture and politics, engaging subjects as diverse as the civil rights movement, southern rock music, and modernism. Durant’s work has been widely exhibited internationally and in the United States and can be found in many public collections including the Tate Modern in London, Project Row Houses in Houston, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He teaches art at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.

Robin Coste Lewis is the author of Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), which has been described as “a meditation on the cultural depiction of the black female figure. Juxtaposing autobiography with art-historical constructs of racial identity, she defines and creates self.” Lewis has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, and Hampshire College. She currently serves as a Provost’s Fellow at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles.

 


Claudia Rankine and Carrie Mae Weems

Claudia Rankine.Photo credit: John Lucas. Carrie Mae Weems. Photo Credit: Jerry Kleinberg
On September 9, 2015, we partnered with the New York Public Library to present a conversation featuring Academy of American Poets Chancellor Claudia Rankine and visual artist Carrie Mae Weems, with an introduction by Academy Chancellor Elizabeth Alexander. Rankine and Weems explored the intersection between visual art and poetry, and the differences between their processes.

 



 


Mark Doty and Bill T. Jones

Mark Doty. Photo credit: Starr Black. Bill T. Jones. Photo credit: Christina Lane
On October 19, 2015, we partnered with the New York Public Library to present Academy of American Poets Chancellor Mark Doty with acclaimed choreographer Bill T. Jones to discuss language, silence, movement, the body, and their approaches to their art.

listen to the audio

 

 

 


Kevin Young and Gabrielle Hamilton

Kevin Young. Photo credit: Melanie Dunea. Gabrielle Hamilton. Photo credit: Melanie Dunea
On November 19, 2015, we partnered with the New York Public Library to present Marshall Poetry Prize winner Kevin Young with award-winning chef and author Gabrielle Hamilton to discuss how both poetry and food enrich, sustain, and bring people together.

listen to the audio

 

 

 


Sharon Olds and Cynthia Nixon

Sharon Olds. Photo credit: Brett Hall Jones. Cynthia Nixon. Photo credit: Steven Sebring
On December 11, 2015, we partnered with the New York Public Library to feature a conversation between Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sharon Olds and Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon. Olds and Nixon discussed the allure and enigma of Emily Dickinson (who Nixon plays in the film A Quiet Passion) as well as their approaches to their individual arts and engagement with others.

listen to the audio