TITLE: Witter Bynner Fellows Poetry Reading 2008
SPEAKER: Matthew Thorburn, Monica Youn
EVENT DATE: 2008/03/06
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 63 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Poet Laureate Charles Simic has chosen two new voices in poetry, business-development writer Matthew Thorburn and attorney Monica Youn, for the 2008 Witter Bynner Fellowships.Thorburn and Youn each will receive a $10,000 fellowship, provided by the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry in conjunction with the Library of Congress. It is the 11th year the fellowships have been awarded.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, "These fellowships to poets of distinction who as yet are not widely known provide a wonderful way for the Laureate, the Library and the Witter Bynner Foundation to encourage poets and poetry."
In explaining his selections, Simic said, "Monica's work conveys a skeptical, intelligent voice, alert and sharp, delighting as much in sense as in nonsense, engaged by everything from history to comic strips. Youn takes the lyric poem beyond its traditional form, reinvents it and in the process reminds us what imagination at its most playful can accomplish."
Of Thorburn, Simic said, "Matthew's work is wry, surprising, jovial and a little mysterious. His poems tie together memories of family and friends and examine nostalgias with a kind of quiet, bemused remove. Even when he uses sonnets and other traditional forms, his voice remains distinctive, intimate and, above all, memorable."
Speaker Biography: Born in 1973, Thorburn works as a business-development writer for an international law firm in New York City. He is the author of "Subject to Change" (2004), and his poems have appeared in "The Paris Review," "Poetry," "The American Poetry Review" and other journals. From 2000 to 2004, Thorburn founded and co-edited the poetry journal Good Foot. His work has been recognized with the Mississippi Review Prize and the Belfast Poetry Festival's inaugural Festivo Prize. Thorburn is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the MFA program at The New School, a university in New York City. He is working on a second book of poems.
Speaker Biography: Monica Youn, who was raised in Houston, Texas, is an attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law and an adjunct assistant professor of creative writing at Columbia University. She is the author of "Barter" (2003). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including the "Norton Anthology: Language for a New Century." Youn has earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton, a master's of philosophy from Oxford and a law degree from Yale. She has received the Rhodes Scholarship and the Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University.