From the Archive: Jane Hirshfield at the 2009 National Book Festival

I’m excited to announce the launch of a new From the Catbird Seat series, “From the Archive.” The monthly series will champion the Library’s literary programming by highlighting audio and video recordings drawn from the Library’s extensive online collections, including the recently released Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature. The series, by showcasing the works and thoughts of some of the greatest poets and writers from the past 75 years, will help further Library’s mission to “further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.”

For the first installment I thought I’d feature poet Jane Hirshfield, who will be participating in a panel discussion at this year’s National Book Festival, reading from her work at the 2009 festival.  The festival launched in September of 2001, and became the Library’s biggest annual event. It has featured the foremost poets and writers from around the world–in 2009, Hirshfield shared the spotlight with Junot Diaz, Jodi Picoult, and John Irving, among others.

I select her reading to start the series because Hirshfield and her poems remind us to slow down and notice both finitely and abstractly the world around us. And after the exhaustion of the normal weekly stressors, the acute awareness with which her poems unfold may be exactly what we need to feel rejuvenated, centered, and ready to welcome spring.

Click here for the Library’s official announcement of the pavilions for this year’s festival and and some of the authors scheduled to appear.


Happy Birthday, Maxine Kumin and Gwendolyn Brooks!

Preceding next week’s announcement of our 21st Poet Laureate, I thought it’d be nice to commemorate the lives and literary legacies of two former Consultants, Maxine Kumin and Gwendolyn Brooks–both of whom were born this first week of June. Each a powerful force for poetry in her own right, please enjoy the below compiled lists […]