Poetry at Beinecke Library

US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey Reading at Beinecke 2-14

Posted in Announcements, Beinecke Collections, Exhibitions, Poetry at Yale by beineckepoetry on February 7, 2013

Thursday, 14 February 2013 at 4:30 PM

A Reading from Thrall by US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey

at Beinecke Library, 121 Wall Street, New Haven, CT

Natasha Trethewey is the 19th United States Poet Laureate (2012-2013). In his citation, Librarian of Congress James Billington wrote “Her poems dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face.” She is the author of Thrall (2012), Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin), for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association, and Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000). She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press).

This event is in conjunction with the Beinecke Library’s current exhibition:

By Hand: A Celebration of the Manuscript Collections of Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

On view January 18 – April 29, 2013

By Hand celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript with an exploration of its manuscript collections.  The exhibition begins where the Yale College Library collection of early manuscripts began, with a mirror of humanity, a copy of the Speculum humanae salvationis given by Elihu Yale.  It ends with the manuscripts and drafts of “Miracle of the Black Leg,” a poem written by U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey while she was a research fellow at the Beinecke Library in 2009.

Manuscript, from the Latin term “by hand,” derives from the ablative case:  locational, instrumental, situated always in relation to something or someone else.  Like the term, this exhibition explores the reflections of humanity in the Beinecke’s manuscript collections, presenting them as markers of the social contracts of love, creativity, need, power, that bind us into historical record even as they bind us to one another.

The exhibition ranges across the Beinecke Library manuscript collections, in an extraordinary display of the Library’s manuscript holdings, from papyri of the 2nd century A.D. through working drafts by contemporary poets, from manuscripts in the original Yale Library to recent additions to the collections. On view are manuscripts, notes, and proof copies of works by Langston Hughes, Rachel Carson, Edith Wharton, Zora Neale Hurston, Terry Tempest Williams, James Joyce, F. T. Marinetti, Goethe, and others; the Voynich Manuscript, the Vinland Map, the Lewis and Clark expedition map and journals, the Martellus map; the last paragraphs of Thoreau’s manuscript of Walden; letters, postcards, poetry, and notes by Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Georgia O’Keeffe, Franz Kafka, Mark Twain, Erica Jong, and others;  early manuscripts from a tenth-century Byzantine prayer roll, a fragment of lyric verse on papyri, the Rothschild Canticles, a fourteenth-century ivory writing tablet, and the first illuminated medieval manuscript known in a North American collection.

Image:Natasha Trethewey, working notes for “Miracle of the Black Leg, ca. 2009; loaned by the author to the exhibiton, By Hand

Charles Wright Awarded 2013 Bollingen Prize

Posted in Announcements, Poetry at Yale by beineckepoetry on January 22, 2013

2013 Bollingen poetry prize goes to Charles Wright

New Haven, Conn.—Charles Wright, hailed as one of the leading American poets of his generation, has been named the winner of Yale’s 2013 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry.

The Bollingen Prize in American Poetry is among the most prestigious prizes given to American writers. Established by Paul Mellon in 1949, it is awarded biennially by the Yale University Library to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years or for lifetime achievement in poetry. The prize includes a cash award of $150,000.

“A poet of remarkable scope and ambition, Wright’s lyrics are like verbal scroll paintings, considering a vast landscape but exploring every aspect in exquisite detail, a stylistic combination that properly figures both the significance and insignificance of the human,” noted the three-member judging committee. “In poems that render the poignancy of moving time, the constancy of the landscape, and the mystery of the invisible, Wright binds the secular and the sacred in language charged with urgency and grace.”

The judges awarded Wright the Bollingen Prize for his 2012 book, “Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems,” describing it as “an extended meditation in which we sense ‘splinters of the divine’ in the phenomena and cyclic changes of the natural world, and in the elusive reaches of memory, myth, and history.”

“At the same time,” they noted, “this volume succeeds in capturing the Morandi-like quality that Wright describes as ‘the metaphysics of the quotidian’.”

While stationed in Italy during four years of service in the U.S. Army, Wright discovered the work of Ezra Pound and began to write poetry for the first time. His first collection of poems, “The Grave of the Right Hand,” was published in 1970.

On learning he had been awarded the Bollingen Prize, Wright responded that he was delighted: “I always fantasized about winning the Bollingen Prize because it’s the only prize Pound ever won.”

Wright’s recent books include: “Outtakes” (2010); “Sestets: Poems” (2009); “Littlefoot: A Poem” (2008); “Scar Tissue” (2007); “The Wrong End of the Rainbow” (2005); and “Buffalo Yoga” (2004). His two volumes of criticism are: “Halflife” (1988), and “Quarter Notes” (1995). He has translated the work of Dino Campana and Eugenio Montale.

Wright, the Souder Family Professor of English, emeritus, at the University of Virginia, has received numerous awards during his career, including the National Book Award, the PEN Translation Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Griffin Prize, the American Book Award in Poetry, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

The Bollingen Prize has honored the literary accomplishments of poets whose work continues to be a force in shaping contemporary American letters. Early Bollingen Prize winners — Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, and E.E. Cummings — are widely considered writers whose work defined a new American literature of the 20th century. More recent winners — John Ashbery, Robert Creeley, Louise Glück, John Hollander, Gary Snyder, Jay Wright, and Adrienne Rich — represent “exciting stylistic diversity in American writing,” note the prize organizers.

This year’s judges were poet Susan Howe; poet, critic, and editor Geoffrey O’Brien; and literary scholar and cultural critic Joan Richardson.

Howe is the author of numerous books of poetry including “The Midnight,” “Souls of the Labadie Tract,” “The Europe of Trusts, Pierce-Arrow,” and “Singularities.” Her most recent book, “That This,” was awarded the Bollingen Prize in 2011. Among O’Brien’s many book titles are “The Fall of the House of Walworth,” “Sonata for Jukebox,” and “Dream Time: Chapters from the Sixties.”  He has published six collections of poetry of which the most recent is “Early Autumn.” A book of his writings on film 2002–2012 will be published later this year. O’Brien is the editor-in-chief of the Library of America. Richardson is professor of English, comparative literature, and American studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Author of a two-volume biography of the poet Wallace Stevens, she co-edited, with Frank Kermode, “Wallace Stevens: Collected Poetry and Prose.” Her study “A Natural History of Pragmatism: The Fact of Feeling from Jonathan Edwards to Gertrude Stein” was published in 2007; her book “Pragmatism and American Experience” will be published later this year.

For more information about Charles Wright visit the following Web pages:





From “Buffalo Yoga Coda I” by Charles Wright, in “Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems,” Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2011.

I think I’ll lie down just here for a while,

the sun on my cheek,

The wind like grass stems across my face,

And listen to what the world says,

the luminous, transubstantiated world,

That holds me like nothing in its look.


CONTACT: Dorie Baker 203-432-8553 dorie.baker@yale.edu

For Immediate Release: January 22, 2013

Editing Charlotte Wilder

Posted in Announcements, Beinecke Collections, Poetry at Yale by beineckepoetry on January 21, 2013

Editing Charlotte Wilder

A talk by Visiting Fellow Caroline Maun
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 – 11:00am

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Room 38
121 Wall St.
New Haven, CT 06511

The poet Charlotte Wilder (1898-1980) was one of three younger sisters of the novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder, and the oldest daughter in the prolific and literary family. Her poems appeared in magazines such as “Poetry”, “The Nation”, and “The North Georgia Review” in the 1930s, and she published two volumes of poetry, “Phases of the Moon” (1936) and “Mortal Sequence” (1939), both well received by critics. In 1941 she suffered a schizophrenic crisis and was hospitalized. She remained in institutions, with the exception of a brief period living in New York City during the early 1950s, for the rest of her life. Although her aspirations to continue as a professional writer remained, her writing career came to an end with the onset of mental illness.

The life and work of Charlotte Wilder offers a striking case study for issues of authorship and gender in 1930s America. Her previously published but out of print volumes speak uniquely to the aesthetic imperatives and the milieu of modernism. She left behind approximately 200 unpublished poems that reflect her distinctive intellect and emotional landscape. She was at different times both brilliantly experimental and innovatively traditional in her practice, with a broad scope of expertise as a writer and an individual formal trajectory. She crafted poetry with subtlety and surprise.

Completing her term as a Thornton Wilder Fellow in Wilder Studies, Caroline Maun will discuss the rewards and challenges of editing a proposed volume that collects Charlotte Wilder’s published and unpublished verse.

Caroline Maun is Associate Professor of English at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She is the editor of “The Collected Poems of Evelyn Scott” (National Poetry Foundation, 2005) and the author of “Mosaic of Fire: The Work of Lola Ridge, Evelyn Scott, Charlotte Wilder, and Kay Boyle” (Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2012). She has published one volume of poetry, “The Sleeping”, and her second volume titled “What Remains” is forthcoming in 2013.

New Research

Posted in Announcements, Beinecke Collections, Poetry at Yale by beineckepoetry on January 18, 2013

Welcome Thornton Wilder Fellow

Caroline Maun

Wayne State University

The Complete Poems of Charlotte Wilder

Caroline Maun is Associate Professor in the English Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.  She is the editor of The Collected Poems of Evelyn Scott (National Poetry Foundation) and Mosaic of Fire: The Work of Lola Ridge, Evelyn Scott, Charlotte Wilder, and Kay Boyle (University of South Carolina Press).  She teaches twentieth-century American literature, creative nonfiction, and poetry.  Caroline will be at the Beinecke through February 1.


Beinecke Welcomes Christain Wiman

Posted in Announcements, Poetry at Yale by beineckepoetry on January 11, 2013

Christian Wiman Joins Yale Faculty: http://www.yale.edu/ism/academics/WimanJoinsFacutly.html


Martin Jean has announced the appointment of Christian Wiman to the faculty of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music as Senior Lecturer in Religion and Literature. The first five-year term of the joint appointment with Yale Divinity School begins July 1, 2013.

Christian Wiman is one of the most significant names in the poetry world today. Raised in West Texas, he was educated at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. He has taught at Stanford, Northwestern, and the Prague School of Economics, and for the last decade has served as editor of Poetry, the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Under Wiman’s leadership, the magazine experienced significant growth in both readership and content. In 2007, the New York Times described his editorship as one of “enthusiastic adventurousness, publishing a wide range of poetic styles, turbo-charging the back of the book with essays…and reviews engaged in debate both lively and dead serious.”

Christian Wiman is the author, translator, or editor of seven books. His most recent book of poems, Every Riven Thing (FSG, 2010), won the Commonwealth Prize from the English Speaking Union and was a finalist for the Kingsley-Tufts Prize. It was named one of the ten best poetry books of the year by the New Yorker and by the National Post in Canada. His translations of Osip Mandelstam are collected in Stolen Air (Ecco, 2012); and a new book of non-fiction, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the spring.

His work has received wide acclaim. Writer Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (2003-2009) states that Christian Wiman is “one of the most important American poets and poetry critics now active. He is a writer of depth, ambition, and originality. There is no one in his generation for whom I have a higher regard.” The Pulitzer prizewinner Marilynne Robinson writes, “The thing that impresses me most [about Wiman’s work]…is that faith, with all its complexities, really matters to him. He need not have made it his subject… That Wiman does so means that his poetry and his scholarship have a purifying urgency that is rare in this world. This puts him at the very source of theology, and enables him to say new things in timeless language, so that the reader’s surprise and assent are one and the same.”

Beyond his accomplishments as poet and essayist, Wiman’s perspective on the Christian theological tradition is profound. David J. Rothman (First Things) writes that Christian Wiman is “one of the preeminent devotional poets of any faith now writing in English.” Of Every Riven Thing, Dana Jennings (The New York Times) reports that it is an “ecstatic ruckus worthy of Gerard Manley Hopkins, who also tasted the tears in things—and the holy too.” He has been interviewed by Bill Moyers and Krista Tippett, and recently appeared on the PBS NewsHour.

Wiman will join Prof. Peter Hawkins in teaching courses on subjects at the intersection of theology and literature, one of the cornerstones of the Institute’s interdisciplinary curriculum. Wiman’s extraordinary gifts as poet, teacher, critic, and editor will make him a natural partner in the musical, liturgical, and artistic life of the Institute, nurturing the formation of future preachers, theologians, and scholars in the Divinity School, and enhancing intellectual life throughout the Yale community.


Posted in Announcements, Beinecke Collections, Poetry at Yale by beineckepoetry on December 4, 2012

What Will Lettrism Turn Out to Be?
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm
Beinecke Library, Room 39

Published in 1954, Maurice Lemaître’s What is Lettrism? sought to define a movement that had been making headlines in Paris for nearly a decade. No arena of avant-garde experimentation seemed beyond its reach. Poetry, music, literature, painting, sculpture, architecture—the Lettrists announced a new approach to all of them. And in fact the creative energy unleashed by the movement rippled across postwar Europe (and well beyond) for decades to come. Yet today Lettrism is virtually unknown. Beyond a small coterie of initiates, combatants, and connoisseurs, it is remembered at best as a “precursor” of Situationism, or perhaps an esoteric form of Concrete Poetry. Now finishing a two-month fellowship at Beinecke, Frédéric Acquaviva will reveal some of the discoveries from his first plunge into the massive archive of Maurice Lemaître, acquired by Beinecke in 2009, as he discusses his continuing struggle to define Lettrism’s legacy in the tweny-first century, a task that has kept him busy for more than fifteen years.

Frédéric Acquaviva is a French composer living in Berlin. Working with authors such as Pierre Guyotat and Jean-Luc Parant, Frédéric composes experimental music and sound installations that focus on the possibilities of the voice. He is a specialist in the history of Lettrism and sound poetry and has orchestrated and produced the symphonies of Isidore Isou, Gabriel Pomerand, and Maurice Lemaître. In the last two years, Frédéric curated a major exhibition on Gil J Wolman, I am Immortal and Alive, at Barcelona’s MACBA, the first Parisian retrospective on Lettrism, Bientôt les Lettristes (with Bernard Blistène) in the Passage de Retz, and Specters of Artaud: Language and the Arts in the 1950s (with Kaira Cabanas) at the Reina Sofia in Madrid. He has written monographs on Jacques Spacagna and Bernard Heidsieck, and produced Radio/Phonies, a show on various artists and poets, including Henri Chopin, Marcel Hanoun, Pierre Albert-Birot, and Otto Muehl, for France Culture.

New From Beinecke Collections

Posted in Announcements, Beinecke Collections by beineckepoetry on November 18, 2012

All We Know: Three Lives by Lisa Cohen, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Esther Murphy was a brilliant New York intellectual who dazzled friends and strangers with an unstoppable flow of conversation. But she never finished the books she was contracted to write—a painful failure and yet a kind of achievement.

The quintessential fan, Mercedes de Acosta had intimate friendships with the legendary actresses and dancers of the twentieth century. Her ephemeral legacy lies in the thousands of objects she collected to preserve the memory of those performers and to honor the feelings they inspired.

An icon of haute couture and a fashion editor of British Vogue, Madge Garland held bracing views on dress that drew on her feminism, her ideas about modernity, and her love of women. Existing both vividly and invisibly at the center of cultural life, she—like Murphy and de Acosta—is now almost completely forgotten.

In All We Know, Lisa Cohen describes these women’s glamorous choices, complicated failures, and controversial personal lives with lyricism and empathy. At once a series of intimate portraits and a startling investigation into style, celebrity, sexuality, and the genre of biography itself, All We Know explores a hidden history of modernism and pays tribute to three compelling lives.

Beinecke Collections: Gerald and Sara Murphy Papers; Edmund Wilson Papers; Carl Van Vechten Photographs; Muriel Draper Papers; Max Ewing Papers; Rebecca West Papers

More about All We Know: Three Lives by Lisa Cohen

“Notes on Camp”: Review by M. G. Lord in the New York Times

“You Better Not Tell Me You Forgot”: Review by Terry Castle in the London Review of Books

Lisa Cohen Recognizes Trio of Women in ‘All We Know’: Review by Lorna Koski in Women’s Wear Daily

Ezra Pound–New Acquisitions

Posted in Announcements, Beinecke Collections, Poetry at Yale by beineckepoetry on November 7, 2012

New additions enrich Beinecke’s Pound collection

Recent acquisitions of Ezra Pound letters and manuscripts present new research opportunities in the Beinecke Library’s collection on Modernist literature. Fearless researchers will appreciate Pound’s letters, dense with obscure abbreviations, literary references, and political opinions. The language of his correspondence reflects his erratic, irreverent, and idiosyncratic character.

Beinecke acquires manuscripts relating to all aspects of Pound’s life, though recent acquisitions focus on his time at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. (1945-1958). Tried for treason in 1945 on charges stemming from his broadcasts on Italian radio during the Second World War, Pound was committed to psychiatric care in lieu of prison. Recent acquisitions document his activity during this 12-year confinement, during which he maintained a prolific correspondence.

Pound’s lawyer Robert Furniss advocated for the release of America’s “greatest living poet” who was “mentally incapable of defending himself.” The documents and ephemera in the Furniss collection detail the public controversy surrounding Pound’s incarceration. Correspondence between Furniss and Pound document their legal strategy as Furniss defended “Mental Health No. 31113” (as Pound was identified by the court) from charges of treason.

Reading Pound’s correspondence, researchers can delve in to his relationships with, and influence on, younger poets. Such is the case with Pound’s letters to poet, composer, and performance artist Jackson Mac Low. In addition to discussing literature and politics, Pound defends himself from charges of anti-Semitism with the inflammatory remark that “some kike might manage to pin an antisem lable on me IF he neglected the mass of my writing.”

These new additions complement Beinecke’s vast collection of material relating to Pound and to other figures of the Modernist literary milieu. Beinecke continuously adds to its exciting Modernist collection, which consists not only of the vast and comprehensive literary archives of Pound, H.D., Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Mina Loy, but also numerous small collections and individual letters, manuscripts, photographs, works of art, and books.

The recent Pound acquisitions include:

Letters to Rene Taupin, 1928-1932

Letters to Paul-Gustave Van Hecke, 1930

Letters to David Sinclair Nixon, 1937

Letters to Jackson Mac Low, 1946-1955

Letters to Robert Thom, 1949

Letters to Allan Seaton, 1949-1953

Robert Furniss collection of Ezra Pound Papers, 1946-1959

These uncataloged collections are available for research. Researchers may contact the Beinecke Library Reference Staff for further information.

Related collections at the Beinecke include:

Ezra Pound Papers (YCAL MSS 43, YCAL MSS 53)

Ezra Pound Miscellany (YCAL MSS 182)

Olga Rudge Papers (YCAL MSS 54, YCAL MSS 241)

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is open for research year-round and visitors can plan their research or read about fellowship opportunities online. (LC)

Image: Photograph of Ezra Pound at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, [1954], Olga Rudge Papers (YCAL MSS 54).

Reading: Devin Johnston & Anna Moschovakis

Posted in Announcements, Poetry at Yale, Readings at Beinecke, Readings at Yale, Readings in New Haven by beineckepoetry on October 29, 2012



Devin Johnston & Anna Moschovakis, Poetry Reading
Monday, November 5, 4:00 pm
Beinecke Library, 121 Wall Street
Yale Collection of American Literature Reading Series
Contact: nancy.kuhl@yale.edu

Devin Johnston is the author of several collections of poetry, including Sources (2008), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award,Aversions (2004) and Telepathy (2001). His prose writing includes the critical study Precipitations: Contemporary American Poetry as Occult Practice (2002) and Creaturely and Other Essays (2009). A former poetry editor for the Chicago Review from 1995-2000, Johnston co-founded, and co-edits, Flood Editions with Michael O’Leary. He lives in St. Louis and teaches at Saint Louis University.

Poet, translator, and editor Anna Moschovakis is the author of two books of poetry, You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake (Coffee House Press, 2011), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and I Have Not Been Able to Get Through to Everyone (Turtle Point Press, 2006). Her translations from the French include Albert Cossery’s The Jokers (New York Review Books, 2010), Annie Ernaux’s The Possession (Seven Stories Press, 2008), and Georges Simenon’sThe Engagement (New York Review Books, 2007). Her awards include fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Fund for Poetry, and a translation fellowship from Le Centre National du Livre. Since 2002, Moschovakis has been a member of the publishing collective Ugly Duckling Presse, in the capacity of editor, designer, administrator, and printer. She currently teaches at the Pratt Institute and at Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College. 



Gertrude Gertrude Stein Stein

Posted in Announcements, Beinecke Collections, Exhibitions, Poetry at Yale, Readings at Beinecke by beineckepoetry on October 25, 2012

“Gertrude Gertrude Stein Stein: What are the Questions?”
by Joan Retallack, poet, essayist, critic, and professor at Bard College

Friday, October 26 at 5:00 pm

a lecture in honor of the exhibition

“Descriptions of Literature”:
Texts and Contexts in the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers
on view October 8–December 14, 2012


the Gertrude Stein Society Meeting
at Beinecke Library,  Friday October 26, 2012
Registration and Information

Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein with Pepe and Basket, [1932]