92nd Street Y Literary Events for April and May

 92nd Street Y






Sun, Apr 5, 11 am, $40


You can’t have a conversation with Joseph Conrad, but you can meet his biographer over brunch at the 92nd Street Y.  Hear about the life and work of Joseph Conrad from biographer John Stape, and enjoy informal conversation over a buffet brunch following the talk. John Stape is editor of The Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad and the co-editor of The Collected Letters, as well as the author of new biography The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad (Mar 2009; Knopf). “Especially striking in the scope of this superb biography is its organic human trajectory, the evolution of Conrad from where he began to what he became,” wrote Cynthia Ozick.


Mon, Apr 6, 8:15 pm, $19 ($10 for anyone 35 and under, subject to availability)


Of Natasha Tretheway, poet Rodney Jones said she “has created a small body of nearly flawless poetry, [and] has forged a singular art from a mixed racial experience without sacrificing either heritage.” Trethewey is the author of three books of poems: Native Guard, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Domestic Work; and Bellocq’s Ophelia. Among Charles Wright’s 18 collections of poetry are Country Music; Chickamauga; Black Zodiac, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Appalachia; Negative Blue; Scar Tissue; and most recently,  Littlefoot (pbk Jun 2008; FSG). “In poem after poem,” wrote Philip Levine, “he plumbs our deepest relationships with nature, time, love, death, creation.”


Mon, Apr 13, 8 pm, $19 ($10 for anyone 35 and under, subject to availability)


The Boston Globe calls Isabel Allende “a unique and staggering storyteller with an enviable talent for intricate narratives.” Her many works include The House of the Spirits, The Stories of Eva Luna, Inés of My Soul and the recently released memoir, The Sum of Our Days (HarperCollins). Critically-acclaimed Chinese writer Can Xue will make a rare New York appearance, timed to the first ever English version publication of one of her novels,  Five Spice Street (Mar 2009; Yale University Press).  Other Xue works soon to be translated into English include Blue Light in the Sky and Other Stories. “At times she invites comparison to the century’s masters of decay made meaningful, to Kafka especially,” wrote The New York Times.


Sun, Apr 19, 11 am, $40


These thought-provoking Sunday talks by leading critics are followed by a buffet brunch and an opportunity for informal conversation between the speaker and audience members. A senior editor at The New Republic, Ruth Franklin has written for numerous publications on the work of Bruno Schulz, Primo Levi, Tadeusz Borowski, Irène Némirovsky, Imre Kertész, Günter Grass and W.G. Sebald, among others. Her book on the literature of the Holocaust is forthcoming.


Mon, Apr 27, 8 pm, $19 ($10 for anyone 35 and under, subject to availability)


Ursula K. Le Guin “can lift fiction to the level of poetry and compress it to the density of allegory,” wrote Jonathan Lethem. Le Guin is the author of more than 30 volumes of work, including The Left Hand of Darkness, The Farthest Shore, Dancing at the Edge of the World, The Dispossessed, Incredible Good Fortune and, most recently, Lavinia (Apr 2008; Harcourt). Alan Lightman’s “intelligence, imagination, and clarity of style mark him as one of the most brilliant contemporary writers,” wrote Annie Proulx. A novelist, essayist, physicist and M.I.T. Professor. Lightman is the author of Einstein’s Dreams, A Sense of the Mysterious and Ghost (pbk Oct 2008; Knopf) among many other works.


Wed, Apr 29, 1 pm, $22 ($10 for anyone 35 and under, subject to availability)


Curious to know which books are on E.L. Doctorow’s night table? The critically acclaimed and best-selling author will discuss his work and his passions at this afternoon talk with Roger Rosenblatt.  Doctorow’s works include Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, City of God, Sweet Land Stories, The March, and many others. “E.L. Doctorow [is] always astonishing,” wrote critic John Leonard. “In The March he dreams himself backward… as if to assume the prophetic role of such nineteenth-century writers as Emerson, Melville, Whitman and Poe.” Rosenblatt is a an award-winning journalist, essayist, television commentator and the author of 12 books, including The Children of War, a Robert Kennedy Book Prize winner, Lapham Rising and, most recently, Beet.


Mon, May 4, 8 pm, $19 ($10 for anyone 35 and under, subject to availability)


Born in Drohobycz, Galicia (now Poland) in 1892, Bruno Schulz, a drawing teacher by trade, wrote two story collections-Cinnamon Shops (1934) and Sanatorium Under the Sign of Hourglass (1937)-before he was killed by the Gestapo in 1942. His novel-in-progress, The Messiah, has never been found. “I wanted to write a book that would tremble on the shelf,” wrote Israeli novelist David Grossman, whose See Under: Love stands as a lasting tribute to Schulz. “That would equal the blink of an eye in a man’s life…the kind of ‘life’ that Schulz’s writing showed me.”


Mon, May 11, 8:15 pm, $19 ($10 for anyone 35 and under, subject to availability)


Formerly called the “Discovery”/The Nation poetry contest, the Joan Leiman Jacobson Poetry Prizes are, for the second year, presented by Boston Review poetry editor Timothy Donnelly. The contest, now in its fifth decade, has discovered such poets as John Ashbery, Marilyn Hacker, Michael Collier, Mary Jo Salter, Nick Flynn, Greg Orr, and many others.


Thu, May 21, 3 pm, $22

AFTERNOON NIGHT TABLE – RICHARD WILBUR ($10 for anyone 35 and under, subject to availability)

This series of afternoon talks, hosted by Roger Rosenblatt, features discussions with writers about their work, their passions and the books on their night tables. Rosenblatt is an award-winning journalist, essayist and television commentator. He is the author of 12 books, including The Children of War, a Robert Kennedy Book Prize winner, Lapham Rising and, most recently, Beet. Before his reading that night, a rare live interview with poet Richard Wilbur. “His poems describe fountains and fire trucks, grasshoppers and toads, European cities and country pleasures,” wrote the Washington Post. “All of them… [are] suffused with an astonishing verbal music and a compacted thoughtfulness that invite sustained reflection.”


Thu, May 21, 8 pm, $19 ($10 for anyone 35 and under, subject to availability)


“There is nobility…that is deeply persuasive, and throughout [Richard] Wilbur’s poetry we are accustomed to finding this rare quality, usually joined to wit, good humor, grace, modesty, and a kind of physical zest or athletic dexterity that is, so far as I know, unrivaled,” wrote Anthony Hecht. Former U.S. Poet Laureate, and a renowned translator and editor, Wilbur is the author, most recently, of Collected Poems 1943-2004 (pbk Apr 2006; Harcourt).



TICKETS/INFO | http://www.92Y.org | 212.415.5500 | 1395 Lexington Ave.

 PRESS CONTACT | Andrew Sherman | asherman@92y.org | 212.415.5693



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About the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center

For decades, the 92nd Street Y has served as a public literary salon and a place to which writers have come to learn their craft. The legendary 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center opened in 1939 with a reading by William Carlos Williams. Over the years, he was followed by virtually every great 20th century writer-Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Bishop, W.H. Auden, Jorge Luis Borges and Langston Hughes, to name but a few.  Today, the center presents readings by poets, novelists and playwrights, and talks with critics, biographers and scholars. Through its Poets’ Theatre, the center produces masterfully written dramas performed by accomplished actors. The center’s extensive writing program gives working adults access to teachers who are practicing authors, a rarity outside M.F.A. programs. Community outreach programs offer high-school students access to world-famous authors, and new immigrants literacy-training through literature. Young writers find support at the center through a series that pairs established writers with emerging writers; and The Discovery/The Nation poetry contest, for poets who have not yet published a book.


About the 92nd Street Y

Founded in 1874 by a group of visionary Jewish leaders, the 92nd Street Y has grown into a wide-ranging cultural, educational and community center serving people of all ages, races, faiths and backgrounds. The 92nd Street Y’s mission is to enrich the lives of the over 300,000 people who visit in person each year as well as those who visit virtually, through the Y’s satellite, television, radio and Internet broadcasts. The organization offers comprehensive performing arts, film and spoken word events; courses in the humanities, the arts, personal development and Jewish culture; activities and workshops for children, teenagers and parents; and health and fitness programs for people of every age. Committed to making its programs available to everyone, the 92nd Street Y awards nearly $1 million in scholarships annually and reaches out to more than 6,000 public school children through subsidized arts and science education programs. For more information, please visit www.92Y.org.

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