Poetry: From Pulitzer to Performance Kane Hall 130
Philip Levine, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award
among other honors, and Ken Arkind, a nationally-recognized slam poet,
share their work and answer questions at this one-of-a-kind event featuring
two very different artists. Emceed by UW English professor and novelist Shawn Wong.
Celebrate imagination, voice, and persistence this April. Celebrate National Poetry Month.
Philip Levine "is a large, ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland" who, according to Edward Hirsch in the New York Times Book Review, should be considered "one of [America's] . . . quintessentially urban poets."
He was born in 1928 to
Russian-Jewish immigrants in Detroit, a city that inspired much of his
writing. Author of 20 collections of poetry, his most recent is News Of
The World (Knopf, 2009). The Simple Truth won the Pulitzer Prize in
1995. What Work Is won the National Book Award in 1991. David Baker
writes, “What Work Is
may be one of the most important books of poetry of our time. Poem
after poem confronts the terribly damaged conditions of American labor,
whose circumstance has perhaps never been more wrecked." Levine is known
as the poet of the working class, and he remains dedicated to writing
poetry "for people for whom there is no poetry.”
As well as having received the Pulitzer Prize and
two National Book Awards, Levine is also the recipient of the National
Book Critics Award and the Ruth Lily prize. He divides his time between
Brooklyn, NY, and Fresno, CA.
"Levine’s use of simple prose-like language and incredible depth of insight into the romance of work and struggle seemed like the perfect choice. He is a poet who could knock students used to reading Shakespeare and Milton into the poetry of today and tell them a thing or two about life along the way." --Sam Kolodezh, student ambassador for the UW Common Book, on the inclusion of "What Work Is" in the Common Book.
“I saw that the
people that I was working with…were voiceless in a way. In terms of the
literature of the United States they weren’t being heard. Nobody was speaking
for them. And as young people will, you know, I took this foolish vow that I
would speak for them and that’s what my life would be. And sure enough I’ve
gone and done it. Or I’ve tried anyway…”
is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam
Champion and full-time touring artist who has performed in almost all of
the lower 48 states, Hawaii, Canada, and at more than 200 colleges and
universities. With Panama Soweto, he is one-half of The Dyamic Duo, the
nation’s most-highly-booked spoken word act.
Arkind has been featured in
the documentaries “SPIT!” and “Slamplanet” as well as on HBO, CBS, NBC,
and Borders.com’s Open Door Poetry series alongside former U.S. Poet
Laureate Billy Collins. A regular fixture in the Denver music scene,
Arkind has opened for such acts as The Flobots, Gil Scott Heron,
Devotchka, Sage Francis, Ani DiFranco, Cloud Cult, P.O.S., and NPR’s Amy
Goodman. The only poet signed to Hot Congress Records, Arkind’s work
has been published in numerous literary anthologies and journals across
the country, including The Good Things About America. His first collection of poetry, I Know Why Georgia Turner Waited by the Train Tracks, will be available summer of 2011 from Penmanship Books.
He is currently the
executive director and head coach for the Denver Minor Disturbance
Poetry Project, an independent literary arts organization dedicated to
helping Colorado youth find their voices through poetry and performance.
selection committee wanted to have slam poetry be represented in the Common Book. We saw
it as an underrepresented genre in the academic community and also saw it as a
genre that really registered with students. Arkind's poem, had
a message that we thought would resonate well with students. It had momentum.
It had beautiful imagery. And it worked great on the page. You
can't help but like him." --Sam Kolodezh, student ambassador for the UW Common Book, on the inclusion of "An Experiment in Noise,
in A Sharp Major (Poem to be Read as a Pledge)" in the Common Book.
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