Kim Addonizio with Gary Lilley
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Kim Addonizio with Gary Lilley

Past Event: Thursday, January 21, 2010

At Benaroya Hall — Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

Kim Addonizio was born in 1954 and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. The daughter of tennis champion Pauline Betz and sportswriter Bob Addie, she moved to San Francisco in the late 1970s, where she earned her B.A. and M.F.A from San Francisco State University. During these years her love for poetry was kindled, and in her late twenties she began to devote herself to her ever-growing passion.

Addonizio has published four collections of poems, including What Is This Thing Called Love(2004) and Tell Me (2000), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has also written two novels, My Dreams Out in the Street (2007) and Little Beauties (2005); a collection of short stories, In the Box Called Pleasure (1999); and co-edited Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos (2002).

An astute, impassioned observer of the world around her, Addonizio wrestles with big subjects like love and death in a profoundly personal way. She examines the fragments of lives that are often dark, usually dangerous and unrelentingly real—yet the longtime blues harmonica player composes her verse with a musicality that is, as one reviewer put it, “purgatorial, and elegiac, and unashamed.” Author Andre Dubus III suggested that “Kim Addonizio writes like Lucinda Williams sings, with hard-earned grit and grace about the heart’s longing for love and redemption.”

Addonizio has also penned two instructional books about poetry and the creative process: the renowned Poet’s Companion (1997), co-authored with Dorianne Laux; and her most recent work, Ordinary Genius (2009). In examining the craft of poetry, she underscores the importance of cultivating a sense of personal power without bending to the conceptions of others, urging writers to “find your own corner of the world to tend.”

A recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and another from the Guggenheim Foundation, Addonizio has also been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Commonwealth Club Poetry Medal, and the John Ciardi Lifetime Achievement Award. Her writing has been featured in such publications as American Poetry ReviewGettysburg ReviewParis ReviewPoetry, and Threepenny Review. She currently teaches private workshops in her hometown of Oakland, California, and online.

Lucifer at the Starlite
—after George Meredith

Here’s my bright idea for life on earth:
better management. The CEO
has lost touch with the details. I’m worth
as much, but I care; I come down here, I show
my face, I’m a real regular. A toast:
To our boys and girls in the war, grinding
through sand, to everybody here, our host
who’s mostly mist, like methane rising
from retreating ice shelves. Put me in command.
For every town, we’ll have a marching band.
For each thoroughbred, a comfortable stable;
for each worker, a place beneath the table.
For every forward step a stumbling.
A shadow over every starlit thing.

Selected WorkLucifer at the Starlite (2009)What is This Thing Called Love (2004)Tell Me (2000), a National Book Award finalistLinksAddonizio’s top five poems


Gary Lilley is the author of four books of poetry: Alpha Zulu (2008), Black PoemThe Reprehensibles, and The Subsequent Blues. Poems have “the power to walk us down the street,” he says, “into the discovery within situations that we personally have not seen…Too often we are told to write what we know, facts, instead of what we can believe, truths.” His work finds kinship with the blues; his sound is “syncopated, densely compacted, defiantly resigned” and his stories are “from difficult places.” Lilley grew up in rural North Carolina and spent years in rough parts of Washington, D.C. The full variety of life finds a home in his poems, and it is easy to believe the “truths” that he writes.

Lilley teaches Creative Writing for Warren Wilson’s low-residency M.F.A. program. He has also taught at the Port Townsend Writer’s Conference at Centrum, and has been a poet-in-residence at WritersCorps, Young Chicago Authors, and The Poetry Center of Chicago. He currently lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

Prayer to Saint James Byrd of Jasper

Sometimes a sufferer wails them church blues.
She’s gonna smell gin on my breath, the street
in my clothes. Her good book off the dresser
with the word stronger than the oak, stronger
than the dogwood of the cross. I have worn
misdemeanor green and cleaned right-of-ways
for the state for a buck-fifty a day.
Where is God? I’ve run boots into the ground.
Saint James, you kissed your sister at the door
and walked the road. I’m on my hands and knees
to see the way. Saint James take us late night
husbands, brothers, and lost sons safely home.
Lord, rebuke the rollers on their long ride.

Selected WorkAlpha Zulu (2008)Subsequent Blues (2004)LinksAlpha Zulu by Gary Lilley

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. The Recital Hall is located on the upper level of Benaroya Hall, up the stairs to the left side of the Box Office. Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

By Car

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Public Transit (Bus & Light Rail)

Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. Visit the Benaroya Hall website for event pricing.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth Avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second Avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.


Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. This option is present at every event at Benaroya Hall in our 2021/22 Season.

Closed Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where captioning displays the words that are spoken or sung at the bottom of the video during an online event. Captioning is available for all online events; click the “CC” button to view captions during the event.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Benaroya Hall has an infrared hearing system, which transmits sound by light beams. Headsets are available in The Boeing Company Gallery coat check and the Head Usher stations in both lobbies.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals for both in-person and online events. To make a request for interpretation, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Sign Language Interpretation” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process and we will contact you to confirm details. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at our venues, and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Among other features, Benaroya Hall has designated parking spaces adjacent to elevators in their parking garage. Elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. To reserve seating for a specific mobility concern, you may select “Wheelchair Accessible or Alternative Seating Options” during ticket checkout, and we will contact you to confirm details. For more details on their accessibility features, click here.

Guide and service dogs are welcome.

Gender neutral restrooms are available.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at, or Monday-Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm at 206.621.2230×10.

For more accessibility information, please head to If you would like to make accessibility arrangements you do not see listed here, please contact our box office or select “Other Accommodations” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will contact you to confirm details.