February 8, 2010

English Department launches poetry series

The English Department at Johns Hopkins will launch a new series of poetry readings on the Homewood campus with a reading by Lisa Robertson at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11, in Shriver Hall’s Clipper Room.

The Poetry at Hopkins English series was created by Christopher Nealon, an associate professor and director of Graduate Studies, who joined the department in 2008 after 12 years at the University of California, Berkeley. There, he said, the excitement around poetry had to do with both the prominent writers that the university brought to town and the way the series connected the university to the wider community: Attendance at readings was strong, and went beyond the university community.

“Coming from a very active poetry scene at UC Berkeley, I was hoping to reproduce the terrific energy I felt there around contemporary poetry,” Nealon said. “Right now I’m focused on developing the series as a place for poets to come from far and wide, but I’m also hoping it will serve to link up poetry at Hopkins with the thriving poetry and arts scene here in Baltimore.”

Two readings are planned at this time.

Robertson, who opens the series, is the author of five books of poetry, including The Weather, Debbie: An Epic and, most recently, The Men, along with numerous reviews of poetry, art and architecture that have been published widely. Rousseau’s Boat, one of her 21 chapbooks (pocket-sized booklets), was recently awarded the BP Nichol Chapbook Award. Originally from Canada, Robertson was a member of the Kootenay School of Writing and Artspeak Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The second reading of the series will be given by David Larsen at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 15, in Levering’s Arellano Theater. Newly relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area, Larsen is pursuing his postgraduate studies at Yale. He is author of The Thorn and translator of Names of the Lion by Abu Abd Allah ibn Khalawayh. During the 1999–2000 run of the St. Mark’s Poetry Project’s newsletter, he provided cover art and graphics. From 2005 to 2007, he was co-curator of the New Yipes reading/video series at 21 Grand gallery in Oakland, Calif.

For more information about the Poetry at Hopkins English series, contact Nealon at nealon@jhu.edu.