Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 16
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
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Poets From Around the World Reading At Princeton Poetry Festival April 29-30

Poets from around the world will read and share their work during the biennial Princeton Poetry Festival. Presented by Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, the two-day event will take place on April 29 and 30 at Richardson Auditorium. Advance tickets are available through University Ticketing. This year’s international festival places an emphasis on translation, with Brazilian poet Paolo Henriques Britto and his translator Idra Novey, Slovenian poet Aleš Šteger and his translator Brian Henry, and Israeli poet Agi Mishol.

Poets on the Princeton faculty include the festival’s founder and organizer, Pulitzer-prize winning poet and chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts Paul Muldoon, Pulitzer-prize and National Book Award winner C.K. Williams, Tracy K. Smith, Susan Wheeler, Brenda Shaughnessy, Michael Dickman, and James Richardson, winner of this year’s Jackson Poetry Prize.

“I love the idea that Princeton might be a meeting-place for poets in a range of ways,” said Mr. Muldoon. “To begin with, the poetry faculty in the University’s Creative Writing Program, many of whom are taking part as chairpersons of readings and panels, are among the best in the country. After that, our visiting poets are among the best in the country and, indeed, the world. We see it as our responsibility to introduce our students to work of the highest order and we encourage them to try to emulate it.”

The festival begins at 2 p.m. Friday when Paul Muldoon introduces readings by Anthony Carelli, Kathleen Graber, Sharon Olds, and Charles Simic. At 3:30 p.m., following an intermission, Mr. Muldoon will moderate a panel, “Poet as Politician,” featuring Paolo Henriques Britto and Idra Novey, along with Sharon Olds, Charles Simic, and Natasha Trethewey. At 5 p.m. C.K. Williams introduces The Holmes Lecture in Poetry, “The Art of Description,” which will be delivered by National Book Award winning poet Mark Doty.

The Friday evening readings, which begin at 8 p.m., will be introduced by Brenda Shaughnessy and include Agi Mishol, Carl Phillips, and Aleš Šteger.

Saturday begins with a 2 p.m. set of readings introduced by Susan Wheeler and featuring Mark Doty, poet-translators Brian Henry and Idra Novey, and Natasha Trethewey.

The theme of the 3:30 panel is “Poet as Philosopher.” Moderated by Michael Dickman, the panel includes Anthony Carelli, Kathleen Graber, Agi Mishol, Carl Phillips, and Aleš Šteger.

The festival concludes at 5 p.m. with readings by Paolo Henriques Britto, Sharon Olds, and Charles Simic, after an introduction by Tracy K. Smith.

“When one considers Princeton is truly an international venue, one thing we would like to be known for is honoring poets and authors from around the world,” said Mr. Muldoon. “Princeton has a responsibility not only to its own students and scholars but to the wider community of students and scholars. Many writers not associated with the University live in the area. We like the idea of bringing internationally renowned writers into that mix,” said Muldoon. “We’re also committed to giving the wider community the chance to celebrate with us and our students. We’re particularly welcoming to children from the local schools where, frankly, poetry writers and readers are won or lost.”

The University is distributing more than 100 free tickets to the festival to 11 area high schools. Students and teachers from Princeton High School who will be attending “are grateful for the opportunity to hear contemporary poets read their own poetry,” said Barbara O’Breza, the K-12 language arts supervisor for the Princeton Regional Schools. “The festival enables us to nurture our students in the poetic tradition, both as poets and readers of poetry, and to help them realize the importance of the poet’s voice in society.”

Tickets to the Princeton Poetry Festival are $15 per day or $25 for both days. For more information about the Princeton Poetry Festival and bios of the poets visit:

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