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92Y's Read By

Apr 11, 2021

Jane Hirshfield on her selection:

“The Lives of the Poets”

Poems are about our human lives--their knowing by stories, language, feelings, comprehensions, perplexities, musics. Because the lives of poets include the making of poetry, some poems are about that. I've chosen a half-dozen, from a range of persons, places, and directions, from a folder I’ve long been keeping that I think of as “The Lives of the Poets.” Because this selection is for the 92nd St Y, a place where people have long come, and will come again, to hear poems said by their makers, and because we’ve all been through a year now of pandemic uncertainties, I begin with two that show the other side of the fabric of public readings.

Anna Swir: “Poetry Reading” (translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan)

Lucille Clifton: “After the Reading”

Han Shan: “Here we languish, a bunch of poor scholars” (translated by Burton Watson)

Yannis Ritsos: “Necessary Explanation” (translated by Kimon Friar)

Adrienne Rich: “XIII (Dedication),” final section of “An Atlas of the Difficult World”

Frank O'Hara: “Autobiographia Litteraria”

Music: "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0