Friday, October 22, 6pm – Poetry
Readings from Poets at the American Literary Translators Association Meeting
With Don Bogen, Adam Sorkin with Carmen Firan & Chad Sweeney
Chad Sweeney author of Parable of Hide and Seek ($15.95 Alice James Books)
In this surreal exposé of the human condition, Chad Sweeney transforms intangible space into a poetic playground. Poems unveil secret worlds, ecstatically reinventing archetypes for the American landscape. This book charismatically delights in the ordinary, grounding readers in urgency balanced by wonder. Chad Sweeney is the author of two previous books of poetry, An Architecture and Arranging the Blaze, and his co-translation of the Iranian poet H.E. Sayeh will appear next year as The Art of Stepping Through Time. He edited the City Lights Publishers anthology Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds and is co-editor of Parthenon West Review. His poems have appeared widely, including in Best American Poetry and Verse Daily. He teaches poetry and lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“Chad Sweeney’s poems are matryoshka dolls of imagination: strangeness inside longing inside charm. Relentlessly figurative, they read as dreamscapes and translations: if the human soul has peripheral vision, these poems are what it sees. And gentleness, gentleness abounds here and makes the point of fancy to unite, to bring one thing beside another and build a home of their touch.”—Bob Hicok
Don Bogen author of An Algebra (18.00 University of Chicago Press)
An Algebra is an interwoven collection of eight sequences and sixteen individual poems, where images and phrases recur in new contexts, connecting and suspending thoughts, emotions and insights. By turns, the poems leap from the public realm of urban decay and outsourcing to the intimacies of family life, from a street mime to a haunting dream, from elegy to lyric evocation. Wholeness and brokenness intertwine in the book; glimpsed patterns and startling disjunctions drive its explorations. An Algebra is a work of changing equivalents, a search for balance in a world of transformation and loss. It is a brilliantly constructed, moving book by a poet who has achieved a new level of imaginative expression and skill. Don Bogen is professor of English at the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Luster.
“In his best work . . . conscience and craft fuse seamlessly, and the result is original and arresting.”—The Nation
Adam Sorkin, reading in English from Carmen Firan’s Rock and Dew, presented with the author ($15.95 Sheep Meadow Press).
Nina Cassian, the greatest living Romanian poet, has written about Carmen Firan’s work, translated from the Romanian by Sorkin and others: “Carmen Firan has many voices —almost a choir—which she controls equally, be they lyrical or realistically uttered, ideas turning to poetry, and poetry breathing ideas. That’s the strength and originality of her Rock and Dew.” Andrei Codrescu notes that, since moving to New York, Firan has been writing poems that explore the New World with an “exciting view of life, love, and the meaning of existence, through the eyes of a renowned East European poet.”
“Carmen Firan’s beautiful and powerful poems, charged with gloom and passion, recreate her struggles not only with life and love, with her history and ours (and ‘its bloody hangover of the senses’), but with the beasts of language, whether invasive or voracious or fugitive. In this war of words, armed with her ‘dialect of Old Angelic,’ she indisputably wins.”—Harry Mathews
Firan has published twenty books including poetry, novels, essays, and short stories in her native Romania. She has been living in New York since 2000.
Adam J. Sorkin recently published Memory Glyphs: Three Prose Poets from Romania (Twisted Spoon Press, 2009) and Mircea Ivanescu’s lines poems poetry (University of Plymouth Press, UK, 2009, translated with Lidia Vianu), as well as Firan’s Rock and Dew. With Vianu, he was awarded The Poetry Society’s [UK] Poetry Translation Prize for Marin Sorescu’s The Bridge (Bloodaxe Books, 2004). Sorkin “is widely regarded as the most important American translator of Romanian letters…”—3:AM Magazine.