Fall 2017

A major American poet of the twentieth century, Gwendolyn Brooks is a writer of great formal mastery and intimate observation, most beautifully of the Chicago communities she writes of, the people who make “a sugar of/The malocclusions, the inconditions of love.” 

Airea D. Matthews’s first collection of poems, Simulacra, received the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, chosen by Carl Phillips, who writes the book “offers us the poem as prose story, as an exchange of text messages with the dead, as collapsed opera, as Tweet, even as a possible mash-up of rap, litany, and Stein’s prosody,” which are all ways to enact “the ceaseless hunger that is the book’s thematic core.” She is a recipient of a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College. D. A. Powell is the author of five collections, including Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. “No accessible poet of his generation is half as original, and no poet as original is this accessible” (Stephen Burt). He is a Professor at University of San Francisco. Rachel Zucker is the author of nine books, most recently MOTHERs, a memoir, and The Pedestrians, a double collection of poetry and prose. “Her poems read like skin-of-your-teeth escapes from impending disaster”; and as mediations on time, they focus “on one of its most heartbreaking dilemmas: how to be in the moment when all you can think about is the nostalgia you’ll feel for it once it’s over. Poetry as a temporal acrobatics, outwitting distraction” (Dan Chiasson). She teaches poetry at NYU and is the host of the podcast Commonplace: Conversations with Poets (and Other People).

Terrance Hayes is the author of several books of poetry, including How to Be Drawn; Lighthead, which won the 2010 National Book Award for poetry; Muscular Music, which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award; and Hip Logic, winner of the 2001 National Poetry Series. A recipient of a fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation, he is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, poetry editor at New York Times Magazine, and Distinguished Writer in Residence at NYU.  

Donna Masini’s third book of poems, 4:30 Movie, is forthcoming in 2018. She is also the author of Turning to Fiction and That Kind of Danger (which won the 1994 Barnard Women Poets Prize), as well as About Yvonne, a novel. “Donna Masini’s poems are …urban, sexual, working-class, passionate, marked by great moral intelligence and generosity.  She is one of the marvelous new poets this country is generating in a terrible time” (Adrienne Rich). She is Professor of English at Hunter College, where she teaches in the MFA Creative Writing program. Sharon Olds is the author of thirteen books of poetry, including the recent Odes, and Stag’s Leap, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize. Her work is “remarkable for its candor, its eroticism, and its power to move” (David Leavitt). She teaches at New York University. Brittany Perham’s Double Portrait won the 2016 Barnard Women Poets Prize, chosen by Claudia Rankine for poems that are “by turns playful, mournful, indulgent, musical, insightful, and all the way human.” She is a Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow.

View the full history of lectures for Poets at the Heyman Center.

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