Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 7:00 P.M., City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco
with Mira Rosenthal and Ryan Teitman
An evening of poetry
Come, Thief, by Jane Hirshfield, published by Knopf
The Local World, by Mira Rosenthal, published by Kent State University Press
Litany for the City, by Ryan Teitman, published by BOA Editions
Jane Hirshfield is the author of six previous collections of poetry, a now-classic book of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, and three books collecting the work of women poets from the past. Her awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the Academy of American Poets, and the National Endowment for the Arts; three Pushcart Prizes; the California Book Award; The Poetry Center Book Award; and other honors. Her poems appear regularly in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Poetry and have been included in six editions of The Best American Poetry. Her collection Given Sugar, Given Salt was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and After was named a "Best Book of 2006" by The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the United Kingdom's Financial Times. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Come, Thief is a revelatory, indispensable collection of poems from Jane Hirshfield that centers on beauty, time, and the full embrace of an existence that time cannot help but steal from our arms. Hirshfield is unsurpassed in her ability to sink into a moment's essence and exchange something of herself with its finite music—and then, in seemingly simple, inevitable words, to deliver that exchange to us in poems that vibrate with form and expression perfectly united. Hirshfield's poems of discovery, acknowledgment of the difficult, and praise turn always toward deepening comprehension. Here we encounter the stealth of feeling’s arrival ("as some strings, untouched, / sound when a near one is speaking. / So it was when love slipped inside us"), an anatomy of solitude ("wrong solitude vinegars the soul, / right solitude oils it"), a reflection on perishability and the sweetness its acceptance invites into our midst (“How suddenly then / the strange happiness took me, / like a man with strong hands and strong mouth”), and a muscular, unblindfolded awareness of our shared political and planetary fate. To read these startlingly true poems is to find our own feelings eloquently ensnared. Whether delving into intimately familiar moments or bringing forward some experience until now outside words, Hirshfield finds for each face of our lives its metamorphosing portrait, its particular, memorable, singing and singular name.
Mira Rosenthal earned her B.A. from Reed College and received her M.F.A. from the University of Houston. She is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Rosenthal is the author of The Local World, which won the 2010 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize, as well as two volumes of poetry translations. Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the PEN American Center, the MacDowell Colony, and the Fulbright Commission. Her poems and translations have been published in many literary journals and anthologies, including Ploughshares, APR, West Branch, and A Public Space. She lives with her husband and daughter in Berkeley, CA.
About The Local World: “Mira Rosenthal’s The Local World incorporates deeply lived experience and mystery in a fluent shape-shifting that can take you anywhere—and bring you back, changed. The poems are beautifully crafted narratives of loss, travel, and salvage. There is a damaged family at the heart of these poems, an abandoned farm, and many rooms, parks, and train cars in far places. Yet, like all really good poems, Rosenthal’s language consistently rises above its cries to wonder and beauty. What a joy to find this stunning first book to award the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize.” —Maggie Anderson, Judge
Ryan Teitman was born in Philadelphia and is a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. He is the author of Litany for the City, which won the 10th annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize form BOA Editions. He received his BA from Penn State University and worked as a newspaper reporter in and around Philadelphia before receiving an MFA and MA from Indiana University. His poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Mid-American Review, Ninth Letter, Sycamore Review, and Washington Square, among other publications. He currently lives in Berkeley, California.
Litany for the City was selected by Jane Hirshfield from over 600 manuscripts, Litany for the City is the winner of the 10th annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. Of Litany for the City, Hirshfield writes "I found in this manuscript a poet doing the work of real exploration, thinking and feeling his way through images of cities both real and metaphoric, inner and outer. This book carries both startling imaginative freedoms and the impulsion of a person navigating the terrain of his life by means of the star-chart and sextant of poems––a winning combination, for me."