A Rich Night of Poetry with Acclaimed Authors

Yusef Komunyakaa

New York University will be holding a poetry reading in English with specials guests Ishion Hutchinson, Valzhyna Mort, and Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa at Villa La Pietra on October 9, 2017 (7 pm) as part of their series, “In Dialogue with Writers.”

The poets will be reading their works and detailing the meaning behind their creations. The audience will be able to earn a deeper understanding and appreciate the significance of these poems, all explained by the writers themselves.

“In Dialogue with Writers” aims to provide a conversation between the poets and their readers, allowing for discourse on different interpretations of the works, how it affects each individual, and the approach of the authors to writing.

Yusef Komunyakaa is an American poet born in Bogalusa, Louisiana. A member of the Fellowship of Southern writers, his Southern roots have allowed his poetry to contain elements of personal narrative, rhythm, jazz influence, and dialect. All these elements weave together to create poetry that depicts the intricacy of life in peace and war.

Later serving as a correspondent in the Vietnam War, both Komunyakaa’s childhood and experience in battle has allowed his poetry to obtain a multifaceted, autobiographical level of meaning. Many of his poems are celebrated as works that have utilized literary conventions to allow the reader illusions and tokens of reality.

Komunyakaa’s Neon Vernacular was the winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Shows of his plays, performance art, and libretti have graced many international stages. He is currently a teacher in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at NYU and is the State Poet of New York.

Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, Ishion Hutchinson is a prize-winning poet who uses his poems to create a narrative between landscape and the indefinable burden of colonial history. By interrogating the role of landscape, Hutchinson is able to fashion pieces that reinvestigate the pre-conceived origins of humans and allow the reader to flow through borders for an intense learning experience.

Hutchinson is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry for his collection House of Lords and Commons. His other work, Far District, was awarded the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award as recognition for the work’s rich literary character and poetical achievements. He graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU, and is currently residing in Rome, Italy as the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.

Valzhyna Mort was born in Minsk, Belarus, and has established herself as a rising star on the international poetry scene with works including Collected Body. After moving to the United States, Mort published her debut collection, Factory of Tears, and has received critical acclaim for her outstanding writing. An advocate for revitalizing Belarusian, the traditional language of Belarus, her poems contain a fiery element that incites change and stirs emotion.

Reading in both Belarusian and English, Mort is a captivating speaker who generates an electrifying impression on her audience. Mort was the recipient of The Bess Hokin Prize for Poetry for her great contributions to the literary scene.

While the poetry reading is free and open to the public, rsvp is required. For a reservation, please email lapietra.dialogues@nyu.edu or call 055 5007219 to secure a spot. The event will be an hour of rich discussion and dissection of poems selected by the authors. (shannon duggan)