Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 6:30 pm
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York City
Readings in Contemporary Poetry curator, Vincent Katz provided an introduction for the evening's reading.
Free for Dia members; $10 general admission; $6 admission for students and seniors
Advance ticket purchases recommended. Tickets are also available for purchase at the door, subject to availability.
Eleni Sikelianos is the author of ten books of poetry and hybrid works, most recently Make Yourself Happy (Coffee House Press, 2017). These works frequently employ a range of forms (poetry, prose, document, and visual) and fields (often the sciences) as a means to explore ways of being and knowing. She has collaborated widely with other artists, including composer Philip Glass and filmmaker Ed Bowes. Her work has earned her two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a New York Foundation for the Arts award, and a National Poetry Series selection, among other awards. A frequent participant in international festivals and programs, her poems and hybrid works have been translated into over a dozen languages. Sikélianòs has taught poetry in public schools, homeless shelters, and prisons, and is part of the guest faculty at the Naropa University Summer Writing Program in Boulder, Colorado. She currently teaches at the University of Denver, where she founded and runs the Writers in the Schools program.
from Your Kingdom
you arrange your syllables like a flock
of self-forming starlings in a draft aimed out
your mouth and at an ear—there is
another here—you see the dim
traceries of human faces, charcoal in a night chamber
but also so pale
a pupil could not find such a pearl
in a milk pool and other hues as the tone
world presents itself as sculpted and so you rise
to greet it, sing, around the time
tight patches of photoreceptors amass
into the absurdity of eyes which have to develop
50, a hundred times and birds
do it better than you, you
stumble at the gate with the sharks
and hummingbirds, a photon hits an opsin and trips
a switch and you learn to bend the light, transparent
crystallins clumping like jelly and it
goes opaque—were you
supposed to keep those feathers?
if not for flight, why?
Will Alexander is a poet, novelist, essayist, philosopher, aphorist, playwright, visual artist, and pianist. He is author of thirty collections of writing in the above-mentioned genres. He is a recipient of the Whiting Fellowship for Poetry, California Arts Council Fellowship, PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Literary Award, American Book Award, and Jackson Poetry Prize. His work has been translated into French, German, Romanian, and Spanish.
On the threshing floor
there are spiders which astonish
with replications which irradiate
which strike resistance
which de-foil carnivorous amoebas
with each fiber
with each mandible
with each blood knot gone astray
out of red or exerted magma
threading their weight
throughout a melanotic angle
into ghostly osmosis