Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Writer's Center Meets the Folger's

Hello all of you out there in Blog-o-sphere:

In Kyle’s absence, I (your humble Writer’s Carousel editor) will manage the Writer’s Center blog and make a couple of guest appearances.

In an effort to build literary bridges with other arts organization like the Writer’s Center, I wish to introduce Teri Cross Davis, Poetry and Lectures Coordinator at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

What follows is a brief conversation we had about the 08/09 Poetry line-up season. For more details, visit http://www.folger.edu/whatsonsub.cfm?wotypeid=4&cdid=44&season=c.
Abdul Ali: It's so good to talk with you, Teri, about the 08/09 season at the Folger's.

Teri Cross Davis: Yes, I am excited about the season, so ask away!

Abdul Ali: What were the criteria for choosing some of the poets? I noticed they're all so diverse across aesthetics, ethnicity, and generation.

Teri Cross Davis: I consider many different things when looking at poets. I look at whether they've read at the Folger’s before, I consider how the audience might respond to them, and I weigh new voices versus and/or alongside the more established poets. All this to present a season that has some range hopefully.

Abdul Ali: Any poets you have not heard read before?

Teri Cross Davis: Well yes and no. In this job I get introduced to the work of many poets I wouldn't have heard of 5 or 7 years ago. But now it's not often that I run into poets whose names, at least, I don't know. That said, there are some poets whose body of work I am more familiar with than before, like Rae Armantrout, Kay Ryan, Frank X Walker.

Abdul Ali: Anything you'd like to tell Writer's Center members about the Folger's?

Teri Cross Davis: It's a great place to work. There are so many arts lovers here that it's an easy place to feel at home in, even with the rare books and scholarly atmosphere. And for people who really love poetry and really love books, there are the holdings in our vault. We have originals by of course, Shakespeare, so his sonnets are there, but also John Donne, Walt Whitman, Alexander Pope, Sir Phillip Sidney, and Edmund Spenser among others.

Abdul Ali: That’s fantastic! And, you serve tea at the Folger's?

Teri Cross Davis: YES! That's a tradition one can really get behind! Every day at 3pm there is tea served in our tea room. I don't take advantage of it as much as I should, it's hard to pull me out of an office that is lined with poetry books, however, I love the tradition and try to take advantage of it when I have visitors.

Abdul Ali: Do you recommend purchasing tickets to the readings in advance? I know that Lucille Clifton's reading was well-attended this past May. I imagine that will be true of many poets for the 08/09 season.

Teri Cross Davis: I recommend getting a subscription above all! That way you are guaranteed a seat at every reading, and all subscribers get a copy of the new Wave Books political poetry anthology State of the Union. The anthology has poems by Petter Gizzi, John Ashbery, Terrence Hayes, Eileen Myles, and more. And two of those names I mentioned will be here in September for the first reading of the season. Plus, you get a card that gives you discounts to restaurants in the Capitol Hill area. So you can make nice night of it once a month, get a bite to eat, hear some poetry, follow it with wine at our reception (if you are of drinking age:) and go home physically and mentally fed.

Abdul Ali: Well, it looks like an exciting season. I look forward to seeing you, with my Writer's Center brethren to all of those wonderful readings. Thanks for visiting our blog today.

Teri Cross Davis: Thank you for having me.

For a complete look at the Folger Poetry 2008/09 Season, refer to your recent Writer Carousel (which is on route to your home via snail mail.)

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