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Never Too Much Emily Dickinson

April 23, 2010

On Monday, April 5th, renowned poets, celebrated actors, and a heralded pianist gathered at Lincoln Center's Bruno Walter Auditorium in honor of Lincoln Center's 50th anniversary and the PSA's Centennial anniversary. The New York City Ballet and the Poetry Society share the lyre of Orpheus as their symbol. Hence "The Figure of Orpheus in Poetry and Performance," spanning the years of the PSA's history so far. The evening featured John Ashbery and Mark Strand reading poems of their own, "Syringa" and "Orpheus Alone," respectively, and Cornelius Eady reading "Orpheus at the Second Gate of Hades" a poem by Yusef Komunyakaa, scheduled to appear in a forthcoming issue of The New Yorker. Actors Maria Tucci and Chandler Williams read poems by Steve Kowit, Linda Gregg, Jack Gilbert, and Donald Justice. In all, eight superb contemporary poems on the Orphic theme. A film clip from Marcel Camus' Black Orpheus was shown to represent the theme in cinema, and pianist Paul Barnes captivated the audience with The Orphee Suite for Piano, his amazing transcription of Philip Glass's symphony Orphee for solo piano. The evening was wonderfully recapped in The New Yorker Online, and Lawrence Schwartzwald captured some of its magic in the photographs below.

After reading, the evening's poets settled into the audience, enjoying a film clip from Black Orpheus and Barnes' masterful performance on the piano. From L-R: Cornelius Eady, Mark Strand, and John Ashbery. (Image by Lawrence Schwartzwald)

Cornelius Eady reads Yusef Komunyakaa's poem, "Orpheus at the Second Gate of Hades." (Image by Lawrence Schwartzwald)

Actress Maria Tucci reads while actor Chandler Williams listens. (Image by Lawrence Schwartzwald)

Paul Barnes delighted the crowd with a stunning performance of The Orphee Suite for Piano. (Image by Lawrence Schwartzwald)

Pianist Paul Barnes performs. (Image by Lawrence Schwartzwald)