Peter Gizzi, Tyehimba Jess, and Mary Ruefle
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Peter Gizzi, Tyehimba Jess, and Mary Ruefle

Past Event: Monday, April 10, 2006

Please join us for a special evening featuring these three innovative poets whose work charts new territory in the landscape of contemporary poetry. Seattle Arts & Lectures is pleased to present this event in conjunction with the Academy of American Poets and Wave Books, a new poetry publishing house.

The event will be moderated by Joshua Beckman, author of Nice Hat. Thanks. and Your Time Has Come and Editor of Wave Books.

Frequently named as one of the most exciting poets writing today, Peter Gizzi is lauded for his “sensual intelligence” (Chicago Review), for his ability to be “inventive without being impudent, gorgeous without being gaudy” (Los Angeles Times), and as the creator of “a new, and often beautiful lyric mode” (Harvard Review). The author of three books, including most recently, Some Values of Landscape and Weather (2003), Gizzi is also the editor of The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer (1998). He directs the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

“It is exhilarating to be invited into a world so large and muscular, so rooted in history, a world where so much is at stake,” writes Brigit Pegeen Kelly of Tyehimba Jess‘ debut collection, leadbelly: poems (2005). Winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series, the volume examines the life and times of the legendary blues musician in a collage of song, culture, and circumstance. A native of Detroit, Jess is an alumnus of the Chicago Green Mill Slam teams and Cave Canem, and is a member of the creative writing faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In the world of Mary Ruefle‘s poetry, the architecture sways delightfully from baroque to spare, from tragedy to comedy. In eight volumes (including, most recently, Tristimania), Ruefle offers her readers a primer in the pleasures of unsteadiness, whimsy, and wildness. “In poems striking for their vivid, playful and original use of the imagination,” writes Charles Simic,” she brings us an unnerving, but always fresh and exhilarating view of our common experience of the world.” Ruefle is a Guggenheim Fellow and professor in the M.F.A. writing program at Vermont College.