The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 13, 2010

Louise Glück and Dunya Mikhail at 92nd Street Y

On April 8th, one of our favorites, FSG poet Louise Glück read at the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y along with Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail. (You can find a listing of all their upcoming readings here.)

Reading first, Dunya was introduced by her editor, Jeffrey Yang, who spoke of the importance and special role of Dunya’s poetry, in Arabic and now in English. "In Iraq, there are no editors because they have censors," Dunya joked, before she read her first poem, "Larsa," after her daughter.

Fellow FSG poet Henri Cole gave a very personal introduction for his friend Louise. “Her poems have now cast a spell on three generations of readers,” he said, speaking of his first encounter with Louise’s poetry as a “young man,” and adding that he now teaches her work to his own students. “A poem for Glück is like a message in a shell for one ear.”

Henri spoke tenderly about visiting with Louise in her second-story home in Cambridge, M.A., where she writes all her poems on an old typewriter.

Louise read entirely from her latest book, A Village Life. Louise is a powerful reader with a very distinctive reading style, and to hear the poems in her voice—especially those from her newest book, with their longer, slower lines and phrases—brings out fascinating layers of emotion. She read seven poems: “Tributaries,” “At the River,” “Before the Storm,” “First Snow,” “Walking at Night,” “Crossroads,” and ended with the title poem, “A Village Life."

To hear Louise read two poems from A Village Life, we'd recommend “At the Dance” and “In the Café” at Slate.

To learn more about Dunya Mikhail, you can visit her site here

 //Adam Eaglin

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