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Kazim Ali, Cynthia Cruz, Jane Hirshfield, & Dorianne Laux (via Zoom)

January 21, 2024 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Free – $25.00

Please join HVWC as we launch our Winter/Spring 2024 Reading Series with poets Kazim Ali, Cynthia Cruz, Jane Hirshfield, & Dorianne Laux via Zoom! Sunday, January 21, 4 PM ET via Zoom.

Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom and has lived transnationally in the United States, Canada, India, France, and the Middle East. His books encompass multiple genres, including the volumes of poetry Inquisition, Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award; The Fortieth DayAll One’s Blue; and the cross-genre texts Bright Felon and Wind Instrument. His novels include the recently published The Secret Room: A String Quartet and among his books of essays are the hybrid memoir Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies and Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice. He is also an accomplished translator (of Marguerite Duras, Sohrab Sepehri, Ananda Devi, Mahmoud Chokrollahi and others) and an editor of several anthologies and books of criticism. After a career in public policy and organizing, Ali taught at various colleges and universities, including Oberlin College, Davidson College, St. Mary’s College of California, and Naropa University. He is currently a Professor of Literature at the University of California, San Diego. His newest books include a volume of three long poems entitled The Voice of Sheila Chandra and a memoir of his Canadian childhood, Northern Light. 

Cynthia Cruz earned a BA in English Literature at Mills College, an MFA in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA in Art Writing from the School of Visual Arts, and an MA in German Language and Literature from Rutgers University. She is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony and a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. Hotel Oblivion, her most recent collection of poems, was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the European Graduate School where her research focuses on Hegel and madness.

Writing “some of the most important poetry in the world today” (The New York Times Magazine), Jane Hirshfield is the author of ten collections and is one of American poetry’s central spokespersons for concerns of the biosphere. Hirshfield’s honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the Poetry Center Book Award, the California Book Award, and finalist selection for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She’s also the author of two now-classic collections of essays on the craft of poetry, and edited and co-translated four books presenting world poets from the deep past. Hirshfield’s work, which has been translated into seventeen languages, appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, and ten editions of The Best American Poetry. A former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2019.

Dorianne Laux‘s sixth collection, Only As the Day is Long: New and Selected Poems was named a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her fifth collection, The Book of Men, was awarded The Paterson Prize. Her fourth book of poems,  Facts About the Moon,  won The Oregon Book Award and was short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.  Laux is also the author of AwakeWhat We Carry, a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award;  Smoke; as well as a fine small press edition,  The Book of Women.  She is  the co-author of the celebrated text  The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. Her latest collection is Life On Earth and will be released in January of 2024.

On Ali’s Sukun, New and Selected Poems (Weslyan University Press, September 2023):

Kazim Ali is a poet, novelist, and essayist whose work explores themes of identity, migration, and the intersections of cultural and spiritual traditions. His poetry is known for its lyrical and expressive language, as well as its exploration of themes such as love, loss, and the search for meaning in a rapidly changing world. “Sukun” means serenity or calm, and a sukun is also a form of punctuation in Arabic orthography that denotes a pause over a consonant. This Sukun draws a generous selection from Kazim’s six previous full-length collections, and includes 35 new poems. It allows us to trace Ali’s passions and concerns, and take the measure of his art: the close attention to the spiritual and the visceral, and the deep language play that is both musical and plain spoken.

On Cruz’s Back to the Woods (Four Way Books, September 2023):

National Book Critics Circle Award Winner Cynthia Cruz reevaluates the paradox of the death drive in her eighth collection of poetry, Back to the Woods. Could it be that in ceaselessly snuffing ourselves out we are, in fact, trying to survive? In “Shine,” Cruz’s speaker attests that “if [she] had a home, it would be // a still in a film / where the sound / got jammed.” This book inhabits the silence of the empty orchestra pit, facing “dread, and its many / instruments of sorrow.” The quiet asks, “Did you love this world / and did this world / not love you?” We return to the site of our suffering, we perform the symphony of all our old injuries, to master what has broken us. To make possible the future, we retreat into the past. “I don’t know / the ending. // I don’t know anything,” our speaker insists, but she follows the wind’s off-kilter song of “winter / in the pines” and “the dissonance / of siskins.” Cruz heeds the urgency of our wandering, the mandate that we must get back to the woods, not simply for the forest to devour us — she recognizes in the oblivion “flooding out / from its spiral branches” an impossible promise. At the tree line, we might vanish to begin again.

On Hirshfield’s The Asking (Penguin Random House, September 2023):

The long-awaited new and selected collection by the author of “some of the most important poetry in the world today” (The New York Times Magazine), assaying the ranges of our shared and borrowed lives: our bonds of eros and responsibilities to the planet; the singing dictions and searchlight dimensions of perception; the willing plunge into an existence both perishing and beloved, dazzling “even now, even here”

On Laux’s Life On Earth (W. W. Norton & Company, January 2024):

In her seventh collection, Dorianne Laux once again offers poems that move us, include us, and appreciate us fully as the flawed humans we are. Life on Earth is a book of praise for our planet and ourselves, delivered with Laux’s trademark vitality, frank observation, and earthy wisdom. With odes to the unlikely and elemental–salt, snow, crows, cups, Bisquick, a shovel and rake, the ubiquitous can of WD-40, “the way / it releases the caught cogs / of the world”–Life on Earth urges us all to find extraordinary magic in the mess of ordinary life. “One of our most daring contemporary poets” (Diana Whitney, San Francisco Chronicle), Laux balances wonder at the night sky and the taste of a ripe peach with recognition of the sharp knife of mortality. The volume includes powerful homages to the poet’s mother and her carpenter’s spirit, reflections on loss and aging, and encounters with the fleeting beauty of the natural world. Transcending life’s inevitable moments of pain and uncertainty, Life on Earth instructs us in our own endless possibilities and the astonishing riches of the world around us.


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Jan 21 with $25 donation
$ 25.00
49 available
Jan 21 with $10 donation
$ 10.00
77 available
Jan 21 FREE
$ 0.00
91 available


January 21, 2024
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Free – $25.00
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Hudson Valley Writers Center
Philipse Manor Station
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 United States
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