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Join Jennifer Franklin as she welcomes acclaimed poets and translators, Rachel Hadas, Patrick James Errington, & Walter Ancarrow for a celebration of their new poetry collections.
NB: This reading will take place in person at HVWC.
Rachel Hadas is the recently retired Board of Governors Professor of English at Rutgers University—Newark. She is the author of more than 20 books of poetry, essays, and translations. Hadas studied classics at Harvard, poetry at Johns Hopkins, and comparative literature at Princeton. Between college and graduate school, she spent four years living in Greece, an experience that surfaces variously in much of her work. Since 1981, she taught in the English Department of the Newark (NJ) campus of Rutgers University. She has also taught courses in literature and writing at Columbia and Princeton, as well as serving on the poetry faculty of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the West Chester Poetry Conference.Hadas has received a Guggenheim fellowship in Poetry, an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant in poetry, and an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
Patrick James Errington is an award-winning Scottish-Canadian poet, translator, and academic. He’s the author of the chapbooks Glean (2018) and Field Studies (2019) and the collection the swailing (2023), and has received numerous prizes, including the Poetry International Prize, the Callan Gordon Award from the Scottish Book Trust, and the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award from the Writers’ Trust of Canada. He has translated, among others, singer-songwriter PJ Harvey’s The Hollow of the Hand into French (2017) and is currently translating then French-Romanian philosopher E.M. Cioran’s Notebooks for New York Review Books. As an researcher, Patrick’s work spans creative writing, literary theory, philosophy, cognitive psychology, and neuroaesthetics. Patrick currently lives in Edinburgh where he is a professor at the University of Edinburgh. His work was just featured in Forbes.
Walter Ancarrow lives in New York City and sometimes Alexandria, Egypt. He received a BA in linguistics from New York University and an MFA from Rutgers-Newark. He is runner-up in the 2021 92Y Discovery Contest and winner of the 2021 Omnidawn Open for his first book, Etymologies, selected by John Yau.
About Ghost Guest (Ragged Sky Press, September 22, 2023)
“What is there I will not let go?” asks the introductory poem in Ghost Guest. With effortless authority, Rachel Hadas’s new collection keeps answering that question. Memories of places and people segue to elegies, which lead to meditations on art and poetry, mythology and, especially, teaching. Dreamy yet precise, celebratory yet attuned to mortality, these valedictory poems tell us exactly what crucial and intangible things Rachel Hadas will not let go.
In Ghost Guest, Rachel Hadas embraces important and eternal themes-family, mortality, the relentlessness of time passing, the unreliability of memory, the fresh renewal of returning spring-and treats them with the utterly flexible skill of her seasoned and artful decades-long practice, being now conversational in tone, now notational in style, suddenly deftly formal, or classically lyrical. This latest collection offers constant pleasure, enlightenment, and surprise. -Lydia Davis, author of Our Strangers
Rachel Hadas has long been one of the essential voices in American poetry, sustaining her readers with a steady, steadying supply of observations and meditations couched in disarmingly intimate tones and coolly classical rhythms. This latest collection finds her clearing out the store of priceless impressions built up over a lifetime and asking, at the end of the opening poem, “What is there I will not let go?” The answer lies in the elegies, recollections, and reflections that follow-a tonic offering of wisdom, an antidote to the flood of “toneless syllables / marching across countless little tablets.” -Boris Dralyuk, author of My Hollywood and Other Poems
Like late Rembrandt, Rachel Hadas creates in the glow of candor and acceptance. Like late Elizabeth Bishop, Hadas writes with the wonder of detail. She is that rare poet of whom we can say that even after twenty volumes, she composes with refreshing ease, warmth of craft, and a probing curiosity about the thin line between the lived life and the afterlife. In Ghost Guest Rachel Hadas writes from her personal Parnassus. -Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst: Poems
About the swailing (McGill University Press, 2023):
Here the long edge / of town Low / winter fog / … My breath / my offering We are / our bodies burning Firmly rooted in fire-haunted landscapes that are at once psychological, emotional, and fiercely real, Patrick Errington’s first collection traces the brittle boundaries between presence and absence, keeping and killing, cruelty and tenderness. In these poems human voices whisper through the natural world – a hand turns on a lamp to extinguish the stars; stones outline a sleeping form; a black eye is a storm cloud. Errington stokes vivid images, formal grace, and subtle humour into the flickers of life that hold fast against unforgiving terrain. Here language functions like a controlled burn, one that could at any moment preserve, perfect, or reduce to ash. Urgent, resonant to the bone, the swailing burns to the ember-edge of grief, memory, and control to find the wildness, wilderness, and wonder that remain.
“The slow burn of these poems culminates in evocative and expansive lyricism.” Poetry Foundation
“Gorgeous poems which seem to shimmer on that constantly shifting border between the body and the landscape.” Andrew McMillan, author of pandemonium
“Like figures walking through the smoke from a burning field, Errington’s poems emerge with remarkable definition, clarity, and surprise.” Bronwen Wallace Prize jury citation
About Etymologies (The University of Chicago Press, May 2023)
“Ancarrow combines extreme precision with a wild imagination. In a ‘Note’ at the end of the book, he writes: ‘The etymologies in this book are correct, though not necessarily complete, sometimes poetically so.’ And therein lies the magic of Etymologies. The author seems to have made nothing up, to have been, it would appear, coolly objective throughout the writing of each study of a word’s origin. And yet, despite this claim, which I do not doubt, feelings and fancifulness emerge-like a swarm of genies freed from many bottles-at once impish, amatory, mysterious, provocative, funny, delightful, and dazzling.”–John Yau, Judge for the 2021 Omnidawn Open, and author of Genghis Chan on Drums
“Ancarrow’s fabulist maxims are laced with surprises. His entries are either notational or so profound, they seem etched in stone: ‘we live between impermanences of language–building a home is settling on translation.’ Etymologies are glorious distillations of mischief and erudition.”–Cathy Park Hong, author of Minor Feelings
“With Etymologies, Ancarrow returns us to the source and medium of all literary art: language itself. Formally playful, brimming with knowledge, and a poetic event with the subtle, yet dazzling contours of a puzzle, this collection unveils new insights on every page. Etymologies marks a marvelous debut!”–John Keen
“Ancarrow’s Etymologies, mostly comprised of brief prose pieces, opens with three words: ‘ahuakatl / aguacate / avocado, ‘ encompassing Aztec origins, Spanish colonialism, and branding at the hands of California farmers in the early twentieth century. This entry, and the collection’s closing two words ‘banana / banana’–which follows, from the previous page, ‘A search ensued for the loose word, that if pulled out, would cause indescribable destruction’–frame the book’s imaginative linguistic dives.”– “Harriet Books (Poetry Foundation)”
“Both analogy and allegory find lyric form and concrete-poetic form throughout Ancarrow’s book.”– “Los Angeles Review of Books”