05 Dec

December 05, 2018
New York, NY,

The Yes of the Poet’s Immortality


New York, NY,

This year, the Rubin Museum presents an array of exhibitions, talks, and programs under the theme "The Future is Fluid," welcoming visitors to step into a world where the karma of past, present, and future exists simultaneously, and to consider rituals such as the act of writing as key to embracing the ephemeral.

Join the Poetry Society of America for a special program featuring writers Sarah Ruhl, Angela Chen, and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, who will share and reflect on the poems, letters, and journals of poets who explored – with verve, intellect, and grace – the presence of death in their lives and their work. Angela Chen will present on Japanese Death Poems (Tuttle Publishing, 2018), an anthology of jisei written by Zen monks and haiku poets on the verge of death. Sarah Ruhl will read from Letters from Max (Milkweed Editions, 2018), a collection of letters she exchanged with the celebrated young poet Max Ritvo (1990-2016) in the last years of his battle with cancer, in which she writes of "the eternal yes that poets sing about, the yes of the poet's immortality." Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon will reflect on prolific and brilliant poet Lucille Clifton's (1936–2010) embrace of mortality in her work.

Angela Chen is a journalist and writer whose work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Paris Review, Aeon Magazine, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian, Hazlitt, Catapult, and elsewhere. Her first book, ACE, is forthcoming from Beacon Press. She is on Twitter: @chengela

Lucille Clifton (1936–2010) was the author of numerous award-winning collections of poetry. Her collection, Blessing the Boats: New & Selected Poems 1988-2000, won the National Book Award for Poetry. Among her many other accolades are the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Frost Medal, an Emmy Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry, for her posthumously published collection The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010.

Max Ritvo (1990-2016) wrote Four Reincarnations over the course of a long battle with cancer. He was also the author of The Final Voicemails, edited and introduced by Louise Glück, and co-authored Letters from Max with Sarah Ruhl; both books were published posthumously.

Sarah Ruhl's numerous award-winning plays include How to Transcend a Happy Marriage; In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony Award nominee); The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize); and Passion Play (Pen American award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center). Her many honors include the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright award, the Whiting award, the Lily Award, and the MacArthur "genius" award. Her book 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write was a Times Notable Book of the Year. She teaches at the Yale School of Drama.

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon is the author of Open Interval, a National Book Award finalist, and Black Swan, winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, as well as Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, a chapbook collaboration with Elizabeth Alexander. She has written plays and lyrics for The Cherry, an Ithaca arts collective, and is currently at work on the poetry collection The Coal Tar Colors, and Purchase, a book of essays.

Co-presented by the Poetry Society of America and the Rubin Museum of Art.

Tickets include access to exhibitions "A Lost Future" and other galleries. Reserve here. PSA Members receive a 20% discount.

Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011

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