1. lucybiederman:

1951

That April 3 event, “Poetry Center Introductions” featured a 24-year-old John Ashbery and you can listen to the recording here.
On the heels of the 92Y Poetry Center’s 75th Anniversary year-long celebration, we’re ready for the 2014-15 season, just announced today by the New York Times.

    lucybiederman:

    1951

    That April 3 event, “Poetry Center Introductions” featured a 24-year-old John Ashbery and you can listen to the recording here.

    On the heels of the 92Y Poetry Center’s 75th Anniversary year-long celebration, we’re ready for the 2014-15 season, just announced today by the New York Times.

  2. unbornwhiskey:

    Before The Myth of Sisyphus he had carried round The Unnamable and Nightwood for at least a year, and for two years before that the ultimate overcoat book, Heart of Darkness. Sometimes, driven on by horror at his own ignorance and a determination to conquer a difficult book, or even a seminal text, he would take a copy of something like Seven Types of Ambiguity or The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire out of his bookshelves only to find that its opening pages were already covered in spidery and obscure annotations in his own handwriting. These traces of an earlier civilization would have reassured him if he had any recollection at all of the things he had obviously once read, but this forgetfulness made him panic instead. What was the point of an experience if it eluded him so thoroughly? His past seemed to turn to water in his cupped hands and to slip irretrievably through his nervous fingers.

    Edward St. Aubyn, Bad News

    We just posted video of St. Aubyn’s reading with Edna O’Brien followed by a Q&A at 92Y in May. Check it out.

  3. Brain Pickings: Six Beautiful and Rare Recordings of Denise Levertov’s Poems, Illustrated by Artist Ohara Hale

    Between 1963 and 1991, British-born American writer Denise Levertov — recipient of the prestigious Robert Frost medal, a Guggenheim fellow, and one of my all-time favorite poets — gave several spectacular readings at the 92nd Street Y in New York, the recordings of which have been slumbering away in the institution’s vault. In this second installment of my partnership with the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92Y — following Susan Sontag’s wide-ranging lecture on the project of literature — I’ve selected six of Levertov’s poetry readings to bring back to life.

    But this is a double delight: I asked Montreal-based artist Ohara Hale — one of the most original and bewitching illustrators working today, and an enchanting musician — to respond to Levertov’s poems in the style of her singular visual haikus, creating one piece of art for each recording. The resulting three-way labor of love, months in the making, is a celebration of poetry, comics, and the cross-pollination of the arts — please enjoy.

  4. 75 at 75: Yiyun Li on William Trevor

    A special project for 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center’s 75th anniversary, 75 at 75 invites authors to listen to a recording from our archive and write a personal response. Here, Yiyun Li writes about William Trevor’s reading of his story “Kathleen’s Field.” It was recorded live at 92Y on May 22, 1990. Yiyun Li returns to 92Y this Thursday for a reading with Edward P. Jones.

    Li writes:

    William Trevor is a major influence for me. I learned writing—and writing in English—by reading him. In fact, I would not have become a writer at all had I not discovered his work. In interviews Trevor has said that he writes out of bewilderment, and one does notice, upon meeting him, his curiosity of the world around him. A woman in an orange blouse walking past a restaurant patio, where we had lunch when we first met, caught his attention because there was something incomprehensible about her, at least in that moment. “Such moments may pass,” he said, though I sensed that often they didn’t. “It could get one into trouble,” he said with a smile. “Disgraceful of an old man to watch a young woman so closely.” Watching closely—the world and its occupants—is a writer’s job. What’s remarkable about Trevor is that he watches with incomprehension. He does not claim to know the world any better than his readers do.

    Read more on Poetry Center Online.

  5. 75 at 75: Caryl Phillips on Derek Walcott

    A special project for 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center’s 75th anniversary, 75 at 75 invites authors to listen to a recording from our archive and write a personal response. Here, Caryl Phillips writes about a reading by Derek Walcott. It was recorded live at 92Y on November 18, 1996. Walcott returns to 92Y on April 9 to read from The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013.
     
    Phillips writes: 

    The poet’s reading style has always been dry and stripped bare of theatrical gestures. He strikes a tone and establishes a rhythm and remains loyal to it throughout the length of the individual poem. On this bleak Monday night in November 1996, four years after he received the Nobel Prize in Literature, Walcott is not about to change his lifelong game plan. “I’m going to read from ‘The Bounty,’” he says. “The first poem, which is long, is an elegy for Alix Walcott.” And so the sombre mood is quickly established and Walcott begins to recite this rich, densely allusive poem about his recently deceased mother with an almost deadpan mellifluousness. It is only in the final section that the performance slips, albeit momentarily. “She took time with her,” he says. But then he quickly adjusts his voice, as one might a crooked tie, and the poem flows insistently toward its conclusion.

    Read more on Poetry Center Online.

  6. Poet Marianne Moore threw out the first pitch at the opening of the 1968 baseball season at Yankee Stadium. From her poem “Baseball and Writing”:

Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting and baseball is like writing. You can never tell with either how it will go or what you will do; generating excitement— a fever in the victim— pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.

Listen to Marianne Moore read her poetry at 92Y in 1954. Play ball!

    Poet Marianne Moore threw out the first pitch at the opening of the 1968 baseball season at Yankee Stadium. From her poem “Baseball and Writing”:

    Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting
    and baseball is like writing.
    You can never tell with either
    how it will go
    or what you will do;
    generating excitement—
    a fever in the victim—
    pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.

    Listen to Marianne Moore read her poetry at 92Y in 1954. Play ball!

  7. A special project for 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center’s 75th anniversary, 75 at 75 invites authors to listen to a recording from our archive and write a personal response. Here, Mark Ford writes about a reading by James Schuyler. It was recorded live at 92Y on November 20, 1989. Ford makes his 92Y debut on Thursday night, reading with John Ashbery. It was Ashbery who shared the stage with Schuyler that night in 1989.

    Today is the last day to take advantage of our special National Poetry Month offer of $7.50 tickets—and not just to Ford/Ashbery (April 3), but also to Derek Walcott (April 9) and Michael Ondaatje (April 28).

    Ford writes:

    In his introduction [to a Schuyler reading the year before], Ashbery confessed to feeling a little “jealous” of his friend’s poetry: “He makes sense, dammit, and he manages to do so without falsifying or simplifying the daunting complexity of life as we are living it today.”

    Nearly all of Schuyler’s poems develop a delicate mediation between his memories and his experience of the present; often those memories revolve around friends, many of whom would have been present in the audience that night. One can’t overestimate the importance of friendship to his life and poetry, and it must have been moving for all those who had helped him through so many difficulties over so many decades to see him appearing in public and receiving rapturous applause both before he opened his mouth and then after he said his gruff “Thank you” and sat down.

  8. Audio: Elizabeth Bishop in 1974

    To kick off National Poetry Month—and continue our celebration of 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center’s 75th-anniversary season—here’s an offer too good to refuse: $7.50 tickets to upcoming appearances by John Ashbery (April 3), Derek Walcott (April 9) and Michael Ondaatje (April 28). We like to think it’s National Poetry Month all year round at 92Y, but this special offer is only good till March 31st—so get your tickets today!

    All month long we’ll be uploading new recording-response pairs to our “75 at 75” virtual anthology, starting with Forrest Gander on Marianne Moore and Megan Marshall on Elizabeth Bishop, who reads from “Efforts of Affection”—her memoir of Moore.

    Marshall writes:

    After Moore’s death in 1972, Bishop drafted [“Efforts of Affection”] and read from it on several occasions. When I listened to the Y’s recording of Bishop’s 1974 reading, I understood why she had never “finished” the essay, never published it. Her reading stops short of the story she told our class and several other anecdotes that reveal more complicated feelings for her subject than she may have wished to expose to an audience—whether in an auditorium or at home in arm chairs. What this recording does capture, as almost no other Bishop recording does, is the congenial storytelling voice I heard on several magical occasions, the vivid personality activated in the company of friends, in this case a friend conjured from the past. Listen as the audience begins to catch her jokes and Miss Bishop warms to the response. There she is, giving us

    … life itself,
    life and the memory of it so compressed
    they’ve turned into each other.

    Gander writes:

    Marianne Moore’s poems are more wonderful on the page than they are at this reading. But the reading gives us what feels like a very real experience of her person, of the motion of her mind, of her animated voice and of the vast range of her associations. To me, it is precious. It’s as close as I will come to meeting her.

  9. "I dislike risk and I never seek it out, but one can’t always anticipate what may occur off the beaten track. The physical risks on that journey across the Himalayas were minor, as things turned out, and as for literary risks, I understood that if that journey was to have any validity, I would have to deal with very personal matters, such as my wife’s recent death. Being a rather private person, this was sometimes difficult, but I decided to stand by what I had written at high altitude, which tends to air out inhibitions."

    -Peter Matthiessen

    Today we released four audio recordings from our archive in the 92Y/The Paris Review Interview Series featuring Peter Matthiessen with Howard Norman (1997), Ryszard Kapuściński with Scott Malcolmson (1991), Paul Theroux with George Plimpton (1989), and Jan Morris with Leo Lerman (1989).

  10. Have you seen The Giver movie trailer? We just watched it. Three times. Did you ever imagine it as an action movie?