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Erica Wright: The Best American Poetry Reading is Worth Leaving the House For

September 19, 2012

This Thursday, brave the beautiful autumn weather to hear the poets featured in the 25th edition of The Best American Poetry read their work.

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By Erica Wright

This spring, I almost skipped a poetry reading because of a light drizzle. One of my students was participating, though, so I sighed heavily and put on some thick socks and boots. I mention this story not to illustrate my laziness, but to point out how easy it is to become complacent about literary events in New York City. Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney is reading at Hunter? Oh, I’ll catch him next week at the 92Y. So, if you are a New Yorker, I sympathize, I really do, but there is no reason to miss Thursday’s event at The New School with readings from the 25th edition of The Best American Poetry.

First of all, it was guest edited by the luminous Mark Doty whose book My Alexandria is also an example of best American poetry, from which I would quote if all of my books were not in boxes. I am in the process of moving from New York City to Atlanta, and I am already regretting those events I skipped because of slight breezes. Don’t be like me!

Second of all, check out this lineup: Heather Christle, Eduardo C. Corral, Elaine Equi, Kathleen Graber, Amy Glynn Greacen, Richard Howard, Marie Howe, Lawrence Joseph, Noelle Kocot, Joy Katz, Honor Moore, Michael Morse, Carol Muske-Dukes, Angelo Nikolopoulos, Mary Jo Salter, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Brenda Shaughnessy, Tracy K. Smith, Mark Strand, Susan Wheeler, David Yezzi.

To whet your appetite, you might want to read this Richard Howard poem about Henry James and L. Frank Baum not meeting. You might also enjoy this interview with Equi or this one with Strand in which he calls New York “an assaultive city.” And in 2007, Tracy K. Smith was our first ever guest poetry editor, and here is one of her selections. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why would I venture outside when I can read these pieces in the comfort of my own home? Well, there’s only a 10% chance of rain tomorrow.

The Best American Poetry reading takes place this Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 7pm.
Tishman Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall.
66 West 12th Street, New York, NY.
Free.

Erica Wright is the author of Instructions for Killing the Jackal (Black Lawrence Press, 2011) and the chapbook Silt (Dancing Girl Press, 2009). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, From the Fishouse, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere. She is the Poetry Editor of Guernica.

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