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Brian Turner, Major Jackson & Susan Rich Brian Turner, Major Jackson & Susan Rich THU, APR 14, 2011, 7:30 PM Benaroya Hall \ Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall Co-Presented by Poetry Society of America  

This Poetry Series Special Event features an introduction and moderated Q&A from Alice Quinn, former poetry editor at the New Yorker and now Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America.

 

Brian Turner
“With courage and an uncommon willingness to see the world as it actually is, Brian Turner writes with a bullet-borne language in which helicopters hover like spiders over a film of water. His poetic gifts detonate into a spray of lyric force that will mark what is possible in poetry for years to come.”  —Carolyn Forché

 
Brian Turner is the author of Here, Bullet, the chronicle of his time as a solider in the Iraq war, which earned him the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award. Born in Visalia, California, Turner attended Fresno State for his B.A. and M.A. before receiving his M.F.A. from the University of Oregon. After graduating, he taught English in South Korea for a year, and traveled to Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan. The New York Times Book Review commented on Here, Bullet, “The day of the first moonwalk, my father’s college literature professor told his class, ‘Someday they’ll send a poet, and we’ll find out what it’s really like.’ Turner has sent back a dispatch from a place arguably more incomprehensible than the moon—the war in Iraq—and deserves our thanks….” Turner has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and Morning Edition on NPR. He appeared in the film, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, which was nominated for a 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary. His honors include a Lannan Literary Fellowship, the NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, and the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship. Turner lives in Nevada and teaches at Sierra Nevada College. His most recent collection of poetry is Phantom Noise, released in 2010.
 
Major Jackson
“Major Jackson seems to define himself by his eclecticism…His poems are witty, musical, and intelligent; he is equally happy discussing the war on terror…or describing early crushes.”   —The New Yorker
 
Major Jackson is the author of three books of poetry, including Hoops (2007), which was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature--Poetry, and Leaving Saturn, winner of the 2000 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he attended Temple University and the University of Oregon. “My early influences include people like Gwendolyn Brooks and Robert Hayden,” Jackson says. “My models back then were poets who asserted the narrative as a framework, as a means of entering a lyrical space.” His poetry has received critical attention in The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Parnassus, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. His honors include a 2003 Whiting Writers' Award, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and a 2003 Witter Bynner Fellowship. He served as a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and as the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Jackson is a professor of English at the University of Vermont and a member of the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review. His most recent volume of poetry is Holding Company (2010).
 
Susan Rich
“From the boldly erotic to the elegiac—to say nothing of the unblinking vignettes of our shameful history of our times—Susan Rich gives us poems sensual yet exact in their language, generous in the range and power of their emotion.”  —J.M. Coetzee
 
Seattle poet Susan Rich is the author of three collections of poetry, including, most recently, The Alchemist’s Kitchen. Rich worked as a staff person for Amnesty International, an electoral supervisor in Bosnia Herzegovina, and a human rights trainer in Gaza and the West Bank. She has lived in the Republic of Niger, West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and South Africa where she taught at the University of Cape Town on a Fulbright Fellowship. Her work has been published in many anthologies, including Best Essays of the Northwest, Poets of the American West, and Poem Home: An Anthology of Ars Poetica. “Susan Rich writes gorgeous lyrical poetry which so courageously tells us the truth about the world.” says fellow poet Ilya Kaminsky. “Her beautiful ear, her fierce attention to detail, her deeply human empathy inspire me.” Her work has earned her awards from PEN USA, The Times Literary Supplement, and Peace Corps Writers, as well as international honors, including a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland and a residency at Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain. Educated at the University of Massachusetts, Harvard University, and the University of Oregon, Susan Rich lives in Seattle and teaches at Highline Community College where she runs the reading series, Highline Listens: Writers Read Their Work.
 
Alice Quinn
Quinn is the Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America and an adjunct professor at Columbia University's graduate School of the Arts. She was poetry editor at The New Yorker from 1987-2007 and at Alfred A. Knopf, Publishers, from 1976-1986, and she is the editor of Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop. Her articles on and interviews with writers, poets, and artists have appeared in Artforum, the Canadian National Post, The Forward, Poetry Ireland, The New Yorker, and The New Yorker Online, and she is currently at work editing the journals and notebooks of Elizabeth Bishop.
 
 
Selected Work
Brain Turner

Phantom Noise (2010)
Here, Bullet (2005)

Major Jackson
Holding Company (2010)
Hoops (2007)
Leaving Saturn (2002)

Susan Rich
The Alchemist's Kitchen (2010)
Cures Include Travel (2006)
The Cartographer's Tongue (2000)
 
Links
Susan Rich’s website
 
Susan Rich reads "At Middle Life: A Romance," from her collection, The Alchemist's Kitchen.
 
Major Jackson’s website
 
Major Jackson at the New York State Writers Institute in 2008
 
Brian Turner reads on NPR
 
Home Fires series by Brian Turner (The New York Times)


WITS Student
A WITS student from Franklin High School reads his newly published work at the annual Book Launch. Photo by Libby Lewis