Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
October 2, 1995
Post Modern Poets Lyn Hejinian and Michael Palmer To Read at the Library of Congress
On Thursday evening, November 2, poets Lyn Hejinian and Michael Palmer will read from their work in the Mumford Room on the 6th floor of the James Madison Memorial Building. The reading, presented under the auspices of the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund, will begin at 6:45 p.m.; Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Robert Hass will introduce the poets. Tickets are not required.
Lyn Hejinian teaches poetic theory and lectures on the social contexts of writing as a member of the Poetics Faculty at New College of California; she is also a lecturer in English at the University of California at Berkeley. Her collections of poetry include Writing is an Aid to Memory (1976), My Life (1980), Oxota: A Short Russian Novel (1981), The Cell (1992), and The Cold of Poetry (1994). She is also co-editor and publisher (with Barrett Watten) of Poetics Journal. Ms. Hejinian has travelled and lectured in Russia and has translated the work of Petersburg poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko. She is the recipient of a writing fellowship from the California Arts Council and a translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; she was also awarded Leningrad's E- Award for Independent Literature in 1989.
Critic Peter Middleton describes Ms. Hejinian's poem, The Cell, as a work which "challenges the idea of the artist as a creative monad inside the cell of self. The poem also works at the boundary of creative practice and philosophy, questioning the aesthetics which assumes a work of art issues directly from the deepest self of the artist. She does so by committing herself to introspection, not by replacing the self with language, ideology or some other collective subjectivity. . . . The Cell is an immensely satisfying work both as a study of the linguistic conditions of perceiving the world, as a very 'frank' account of the shifting currents of ontological belief which sustain the author."
Michael Palmer took his graduate degree in Comparative Literature at Harvard University, where he edited Joglars magazine with Clark Coolidge. His collections of poetry include Blake's Newton (1972), The Circular Gates (1974), Without Music(1977), Notes for Echo Lake (1981), First Figure (1984), Sun (1988), and At Passages (1995). He has written many radio plays and works of criticism, and has collaborated on over a dozen dance works with Margaret Jenkins, most recently an evening-length dance work, The Gates (Far Away Near), with Ms. Jenkins, Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert, which was performed in September 1993 in the San Francisco Bay Area and in July 1994 at New York's Lincoln Center. Mr. Palmer has also recently completed collaborations with the French painter Micala Henich and the Italian painter Sandro Chia. He has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund Writer's Award. With Michael Molnar and John High, he has helped to edit and translate a volume of poetry by the Russian poet Alexei Parshchikov, Blue Vitriol. His New and Selected Poems will be published by New Directions in 1996.
Of At Passages, Marjorie Perloff writes: "The austerity, poignancy, and mystery of Michael Palmer's visionary new poems recall Paul Celan--but a Celan who must negotiate, not the postwar landscapes of deprivation and desolation, but the absurdist 'displacement by degrees' one experiences in the post- urban world of late twentieth-century America, an America in whose jungle of cities the 'snow falls upward' and 'the philosopher lies in the doorway, discussing the theory of colors.'"
# # #