Upcoming Events at 112th
Join us on Friday, October 4th for another Poetry Open Mic Night hosted in conjunction with Columbia University’s New Poetry, a group of professors and students dedicated to making new and newly made poetry & poetics. The stage will also be open to anyone who would like to share, please keep your reading under seven minutes. Come by early to secure a slot.
Poetry Open Mic Night will be followed by a Bagel Breakfast the morning of Saturday, October 5th starting at 10am and lasting until the bagels and coffee are gone. Come in to celebrate the end of course rush and the start of Fall.
Join us on October 14th at 7pm for the launch of Meena Alexander’s new book of poetry, Birthplace with Buried Stones.
With their intense lyricism, Alexander’s poems convey the fragmented experience of the traveler, for whom home is both nowhere and everywhere. The landscapes she evokes, whether walking a city street or reading Basho in the Himalayas, hold echoes of otherness. Place becomes a palimpsest, composed of layer upon layer of memory, dream, and desire. There are poems of love and poems of war – we see the rippling effects of violence and dislocation, of love and its aftermath. The poems in Birthplace with Buried Stones range widely over time and place, from her native India to New York City. We see traces of mythology, ritual, other languages. Uniquely attuned to life in a globalized world, Alexander’s poetry is an apt guide, bringing us face to face with the power of a single moment, its capacity to evoke the unseen and unheard.
Meena Alexander is an award winning author and scholar. Her volumes of poetry include Illiterate Heart (winner of the PEN Open Book Award), Raw Silk and Quickly Changing River. Her poetry has been translated into several languages and set to music. She has written the acclaimed autobiography, Fault Lines as well as two novels. She is author of the academic study Women in Romanticism and the book of essays Poetics of Dislocation. She is Distinguished Professor of English at the City University of New York and teaches at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
On October 16th at 7pm Eleanor Johnson is hosting a discussion on Practicing Literary Theory in the Middle Ages: Ethics and the Mixed Form in Chaucer, Gower, Usk, and Hoccleve.
Literary scholars often avoid the category of the aesthetic in discussions of ethics, believing that purely aesthetic judgments can vitiate analyses of a literary work’s sociopolitical heft and meaning. In Practicing Literary Theory in the Middle Ages, Eleanor Johnson reveals that aesthetics-the formal aspects of literary language that make it sense-perceptible-are indeed inextricable from ethics in the writing of medieval literature.
Johnson brings a keen formalist eye to bear on the prosimetric form: the mixing of prose with lyrical poetry. This form descends from the writings of the sixth-century Christian philosopher Boethius-specifically his famous prison text, Consolation of Philosophy-to the late medieval English tradition. Johnson argues that Boethius’s text had a broad influence not simply on the thematic and philosophical content of subsequent literary writing, but also on the specific aesthetic construction of several vernacular traditions. She demonstrates the underlying prosimetric structures in a variety of Middle English texts-including Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and portions of the Canterbury Tales, Thomas Usk’s Testament of Love, John Gower’s Confessio amantis, and Thomas Hoccleve’s autobiographical poetry-and asks how particular formal choices work, how they resonate with medieval literary-theoretical ideas, and how particular poems and prose works mediate the tricky business of modeling ethical transformation for a readership.
Eleanor Johnson is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. In addition to her scholarly work, she has published two collections of poetry, The Dwell (2009) and Her Many Feathered Bones.