2009 – 2010 Readings and Talks

Mark McMorris

September 29, 2009

Seminar 5:30 PM | ICC 462
Reading 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

Prayer To Shadows On My Wall

— Mark McMorris

Soon the rushlights will go out in the flesh
of sympathetic bodies once close to my own hand
and I will go to my hammock, thinking of little
except the numbness that alone makes bearable
the wind’s twisting. I want atoms to separate
like hairs or dust onto the heads of my daughters.
I want to violate the edict that traps my hunger
in cages and away from her rough shoulder
and once to be enough for this and all the loves
that flicker through my bedroom before sleep.
They keep me awake, and tonight they are fierce
as whips or as needles to make the skin crawl.
I want to drift like the poui in a southerly wind
and settle where I need to before the faces erode,
my appetite of iron caulking the egg-shell heart.

From The Blaze of the Poui (University of Georgia Press, 2003)
Read more about Mark McMorris

Harry Clifton

October 27, 2009

Seminar 5:30 PM | ICC 462
Reading 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

Good Feral

— Harry Clifton

Only here, at the head of a pack of hounds
In a tenement room, on a patch of waste ground

Everything, man or animal, might share,
Did the humans, telling her she was not all there,

Abandon her forever or a while
To wander the forest of cities, like a child

Suckled on wolf’s milk, smelling of dog,
Unable to defend herself, or beg

In a common language. Knowing the Word
But no grammar. Panting in surds

At the packs of the concerned – the half-sisters,
Half-brothers, cloned from the masters,

Finding her where they left her, curled
In the forgotten corner of a lost, unfallen world.

Read more about Harry Clifton

Piotr Sommer

November 19, 2009

Seminar 5:30 PM | ICC 462
Reading 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

Of Course

— Piotr Sommer

he won’t tell you his whole life
in three hours or in three days, even
if he really wanted
to show you that he likes you

and trusts you. There’s just
no way to do it, because
whoever said sympathy
has to be sustained by detailed knowledge.

No one, of course. Perhaps that’s why one can
not hurry, and permit oneself
silence, and words

only when one wants.
And now try to trust him in this absence
of words and sentences and stories.

From Poetry International
Read more about Piotr Sommer

Margarethe von Trotta

December 3, 2009

Lecture and Discussion 8:00 PM | ICC Auditorium

John Ashbery

February 2, 2009

Seminar 5:30 PM | ICC Room 462
Reading 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

The New Higher

— John Ashbery

You meant more than life to me. I lived through
you not knowing, not knowing I was living.
I learned that you called for me. I came to where
you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.
No one to appreciate me. The legality of it
upset a chair. Many times to celebrate
we were called together and where
we had been there was nothing there,
nothing that is anywhere. We passed obliquely,
leaving no stare. When the sun was done muttering,
in an optimistic way, it was time to leave that there.

Blithely passing in and out of where, blushing shyly
at the tag on the overcoat near the window where
the outside crept away, I put aside the there and now.
Now it was time to stumble anew,
blacking out when time came in the window.
There was not much of it left.
I laughed and put my hands shyly
across your eyes. Can you see now?
Yes I can see I am only in the where
where the blossoming stream takes off, under your window.
Go presently you said. Go from my window.
I am in love with your window I cannot undermine
it, I said.

From Poets.org
Read more about John Ashbery

Nathaniel Mackey

February 22, 2010

Seminar 5:30 PM | ICC Room 462
Reading 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

From Day After Day Of The Dead

— Nathaniel Mackey

–“mu” forty-eighth part–
“While we’re alive,” we kept
repeating. Tongues, throats,
roofs of our mouths bone dry,
skeletons we’d someday
Panicky masks we wore for
effect more than effect,
more real that we’d admit
No longer wanting to know
what soul was, happy to
shadow, know touch…
Happy to have sun at our
backs, way led by shadow,
happy to have bodies, block
Afternoon sun lighting leaf,
glint of glass, no matter what
about to be out of body it
Soon to be shadowless we thought,
said we thought, not to be offguard,
caught out. Gray morning we
to be done with, requiem so
sweet we forgot what it lamented,
turning to sugar, we

Continue reading “Day After Day Of The Dead” on The Poetry Foundation’s website.
Read more about Nathaniel Mackey

Renee Gladman

March 16, 2010

Seminar 5:30 PM | ICC 462
Reading 8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

From The Activist

— Renee Gladman 

Officials pursue activists over rocky terrain in
search of answers. “We want to make sure anger
does not ruin these kids,” Daniel Sharpe of the
Brendan Seize Unit (BSU) confides, “but it’s like
pushing against water.”

Investigators combed shards from the collapsed
bridge for signs that it had been blown apart. “I
have a feeling that Monique Wally and her group
are behind this. What we have is a smell of iron
burning, but no visual evidence on site.” Sharpe
and his BSU team have joined with local police
and the FBI to solve the encrypted crime.

“Only the time of day distinguishes these so-
called dissidents from terrorists. Had they blown
that bridge an hour earlier or an hour later, we
would have had a lot of death on our hands.”

The bridge remains in tact today, despite reports
that it is long gone. A team of specialists from
the Institute of Explosive Applications in
Toronto, Ontario is expected to settle the mat-
ter by mid-week. “These scientists are the elite
among their field. We have every faith that they
will acknowledge the violence done to the
bridge,” the President assured viewers today.

Read more about Renee Gladman

Raul Zurita

April 19, 2010

Reading 5:30 PM | New North 204

From Sunday Morning

— Raúl Zurita

trs. by Anna Deeny


Over the cliffs of the hillside: the sun
then below in the valley
the earth covered with flowers
Zurita enamored friend
takes in the sun of photosynthesis
Zurita will now never again be friend
since 7 P.M. it’s been getting dark

Night is the insane asylum of the plants


Enclose with the four wall of
a bathroom: I looked up at the ceiling
and began to clean the walls and
the floor the sink all of it
You see: Outside the sky was God
and he was sucking at my soul–believe me!
I wiped my weeping eyes.

Read more about Raúl Zurita