Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Marie Howe and Richard Blanco Reading March 4

The Distinguished Poets Series of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College (PCCC) is presenting a reading by Marie Howe and Richard Blanco on Saturday, March 4.

The reading is at 1 p.m. at the historic Hamilton Club, 32 Church St., Paterson. The program is free and an open reading follows. Parking is available at the PCCC open faculty lot on College Blvd., between Memorial Dr. and Church St.

For more info call (973) 684-6555 or visit www.poetrycenterpccc.com

Born in Rochester, New York, Marie Howe attended the University of Windsor, and earned an MFA from Columbia University, where she studied with Stanley Kunitz, whom she refers to as “my true teacher.”

Her first collection, The Good Thief (1988), was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Margaret Atwood, who praised Howe’s “poems of obsession that transcend their own dark roots.”

What the Living Do (1997), an elegy to her brother John, was praised by Publishers Weekly as one of the five best poetry collections of the year. Stripping her poems of metaphor, Howe composed the collection as a transparent, accessible documentary of loss.

In The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (2008), Howe distanced herself from the personal narrative and returned to, as she describes in the AGNI interview, her “obsess[ion] with the metaphysical, the spiritual dimensions of life as they present themselves in this world.” In these poems Howe “makes metaphor matter and material metaphysical,” according to Brenda Shaughnessy in Publishers Weekly.

Magdalene  (2017) imagines the biblical figure of Mary Magdalene as a woman who embodies the spiritual and sensual, alive in a contemporary landscape―hailing a cab, raising a child, listening to news on the radio. Between facing the traumas of her past and navigating daily life, the narrator of Magdalene yearns for the guidance of her spiritual teacher, a Christ figure, whose death she continues to grieve. Erotic, spirited, and searching for meaning, she is a woman striving to be the subject of her own life, fully human and alive to the sacred in the mortal world.

Richard Blanco is one of the most beloved and influential poets and storytellers writing today. As a historic inaugural poet, public speaker, teacher and memoirist, he continues to invite audiences to reconnect to the heart of the human experience and all of its beautiful diversity. Through the power of his words and presence, Blanco taps into out unspoken dreams, hopes and frustrations. He captures the human spirit and condition, in all of its complexities, opening up our minds and encouraging us to see beyond our differences to share in the universal experience of our humanity.

Blanco was born in Madrid in 1968, immigrating as an infant with his Cuban-exile family to the United States. He was raised and educated in Miami, earning a B.S. in civil engineering and a M.F.A. in creative writing from Florida International University. Blanco has been a practicing engineer, writer and poet since 1991.

His books, in order of publication, are: City of a Hundred Fires (1998), Directions to the Beach of the Dead (2005), Looking for the Gulf Motel (2012), One Today (2013), Boston Strong (2013), and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey (2013).

In 2013, Blanco was chosen to serve as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, following in the footsteps as such great writers as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. Blanco performed "One Today," an original poem he wrote for the occasion, becoming the youngest, first Latino, immigrant and openly gay writer to hold the honor.

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