Skip to content Skip to footer links

Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Sarah Arvio and John Keene

Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 6:30 pm, Dia Chelsea

Event Details
Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 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 are recommended. Tickets are also available for purchase at the door, subject to availability.  

Sarah Arvio’s recent book of new translations from the works of Federico García Lorca, Poet in Spain (Alfred A. Knopf, 2017), has been widely praised. Her earlier books are night thoughts: 70 dream poems & notes from an analysis (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), which is a hybrid of poetry, essay, and memoir, Sono: Cantos (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), and Visits from the Seventh (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002). She is the recipient of a Rome Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and Bogliasco Foundation fellowships, among other honors. Arvio also worked for many years as a translator for the United Nations in New York and Switzerland.

Gacela VII
Of the Memory of Love

Don’t take my memory of you
leave it in my heart

trembling white cherry tree
January’s martyr

A wall of bad dreams
divides me from the dead

I’m as pained as a fresh lily
before a plaster heart

All night in the orchard
my eyes are like two dogs

All night eating
the poison quinces

Sometimes the wind
is a tulip of fear

a sick tulip
in the winter dawn

A wall of bad dreams
divides me from the dead

Silent grass covers your
body’s gray valley

On the arch where we meet
hemlock is growing

Leave me my memory of you
leave it in my heart

John Keene is an artist, a translator, and a writer. His recent books include: the story and novella collection Counternarratives (New Directions, 2015); the art book GRIND (Image Text Ithaca Press, 2016), an art-text collaboration with photographer Nicholas Muellner; and the poetry chapbook Playland (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016). He also has translated the Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer (Nightboat Books, 2014), and numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from French, Portuguese, and Spanish. His recent honors include an American Book Award (2016), a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction (2016), a Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction (2018), and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2018). He chairs the African American and African studies department, and teaches English, African American studies, and creative writing at Rutgers University-Newark in New Jersey.


When you said people did you mean punish?
                          When you said friend did you mean fraud?
When you said thought did you mean terror?
                          When you said connection did you mean con?
When you said God did you mean greed?
                          When you said faith did you mean fanatic?
When you said hope did you mean hype?
                          When you said unity did you mean enmity?
When you said freedom did you mean forfeit?
                          When you said law did you mean lie?
When you said truth did you mean treason?
                          When you said feeling did you mean fool?
When you said together did you mean token?
                          When you said desire did you mean desert?
When you said sex did you mean savagery?
                          When you said need did you mean nought?
When you said blood did you mean bought?
                          When you said heart did you mean hard?
When you said head did you mean hide?
                          When you said health did you mean hurt?
When you said love did you mean loss?
                          When you said fate did you mean fight?
When you said destiny did you mean decimate?
                          When you said honor did you mean hunger?
When you said bread did you mean broke?
                          When you said feast did you mean fast?
When you said first did you mean forgotten?
                          When you said last did you mean least?
When you said woman did you mean wither?
                          When you said man did you mean master?
When you said father did you mean smother?
                          When you said father did you mean fatal?
When you said sister did you mean surrender?
                          When you said brother did you mean brutal?
When you said fellow did you mean follow?
                          When you said couple did you mean capital?
When you said family did you mean failure?
                          When you said mankind did you mean market?
When you said society did you mean sickness?
                          When you said democracy did you mean indignity?
When you said equality did you mean empty?
                          When you said politics did you mean power?
When you said left did you mean lost?
                          When you said right did you mean might?
When you said republic did you mean rich?
                          When you said wealthy did you mean wall?
When you said poor did you mean prison?
                          When you said justice did you mean just us?
When you said immigrant did you mean enemy?
                          When you said refugee did you mean refusal?
When you said earth did you mean ownership?
                          When you said soil did you mean oil?
When you said community did you mean conflict?
                          When you said safety did you mean suspicion?
When you said security did you mean sabotage?
                          When you said army did you mean Armageddon?
When you said white did you mean welcome?
                          When you said black did you mean back?
When you said yellow did you mean yield?
                          When you said brown did you mean down?
When you said we did you mean war?
                          When you said you did you mean useless?
When you said she did you mean suffer?
                          When you said he did you mean horror?
When you said they did you mean threat?
                          When you said I did you mean island?
When you said tribe did you mean trouble?
                          When you said name did you mean nobody?
When you said news did you mean nonsense?
                          When you said media did you mean miasma?
When you said success did you mean sucker?
                          When you said fame did you mean game?
When you said ideal did you mean idol?
                          When you said yesterday did you mean travesty?
When you said today did you mean doomsday?
                          When you said tomorrow did you mean never?
When you said hear did you mean hush?
                          When you said listen did you mean limit?
When you said write did you mean wound?
                          When you said read did you mean retreat?
When you said literacy did you mean apathy?
                          When you said fiction did you mean forget?
When you said poetry did you mean passivity?
                          When you say art do you mean act?




Photo: Don Stahl

Readings in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology

View details

Get Dia News

Receive Dia News and be the first to hear about events and exhibitions happening at our locations and sites.