An Interview with David Yezzi

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David Yezzi is passionate about the performance of poetry.

“I don’t think a poem is alive until it is read out loud,” says the Albany native. Yezzi, an actor and the co-founder of Thick Description, a San Francisco theater company, has performed in works by Shakespeare, Shaw, Brecht, Goethe, and Williams, both in the United States and abroad.

Yezzi is the author of three poetry books and the editor of The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets. In addition to poetry, Yezzi composes libretti. Yezzi was the Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University from 1998 to 2000. His poems have appeared in such places as The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The New Republic, The Best American Poetry, The Yale Review, and Poetry. A former director of the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York, and is currently the executive editor of The New Criterion. In addition to his poetry, his literary essays and reviews have been published in such places as The New York Times Book Review, The New York Sun, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and The (London) Times Literary Supplement.

Yezzi will be reading with author Kaya Oakes as part of the Frequency North reading series on Thursday, March 21, at 7:30pm, in the Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary, 959 Madison Avenue. He’s looking forward to reading at Saint Rose, especially since it falls during Social Justice Week. Speaking to him over the phone in New York, where he lives with his family, Yezzi and I discussed his career, his motivation, his connections to Albany and the Capital Region, a fellow named “Dirty Dan,” as well as his latest poetry collection, Birds of the Air. 

How is Birds of the Air different from other books you have written?

This book is my most dramatic. By that I mean it contains dramatic verse. There are four monologues, and one of them, “Tomorrow & Tomorrow,” is actually a duologue with two voices speaking. In my last book, Azores, there was one long monologue about a father, but this was more of an isolated poem. In Birds of the Air, the characters are more dramatic as well. It’s also important that my poetry sounds natural. A lot of poems, especially monologues, sound like verse, but I wanted these to sound more like natural speech. Continue reading

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Radical Catholic Author Kaya Oakes and Albany-Born Poet David Yezzi Come to Frequency North on March 21

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The Frequency North writers series at The College of Saint Rose resumes speed with readings by Catholic activist-author Kaya Oakes and Albany-born poet David Yezzi.

Oakes and Yezzi will read Thursday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary, 959 Madison Ave., Albany. The reading is free and open to the public. Copies of the authors’ latest works will be available for purchase and signing.

This program is presented as part of the College’s Social Justice Week being held on campus March 16-23 and sponsored by the Office of Spiritual Life and Community Service.

Follow Frequency North on Twitter (@FrequencyNorth) for more updates and info.

Bios for Oakes and Yezzi after the jump. Continue reading

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Frequency North’s National Day on Writing with Anne Trubek

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English major Chris Surprenant and author Anne Trubek in the commuter lounge. (Photo Credit: Cailin Brown, Saint Rose Chronicle).

Last October, as part of the National Day of Writing, author, critic, and Oberlin College professor Anne Trubek visited The College of Saint Rose campus and read excerpts from her book,  A Skeptic’s Guide to Writers’ Houses

The National Council of Teachers of English sponsors the National Day on Writing annually to recognize “the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives.” The October 18 program was sponsored by the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee at Saint Rose, Frequency North, and the School of Arts and Humanities. Continue reading

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Visit from Melissa Febos and Eduardo C. Corral

 

In just a week’s time we will be welcoming authors Melissa Febos and Eduardo C. Corral to The College of Saint Rose for the final event for the Fall 2012 semester of Frequency North.

Febos and Corral will read Thursday, November 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Standish Rooms, Saint Rose Events and Athletics Center, 420 Western Ave., Albany. The program is free and open to the public. Copies of the authors’ latest works will be available for purchase and signing.

Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart, a documentary of her experience as a dominatrix, was raised in Cape Cod until she moved to Boston and then New York. She graduated from The New School University and attended Sarah Lawrence College for her MFA in writing.

Eduardo C. Corral, a poet from Arizona, was raised in Casa Grande and is now living in New York. He has published a range of poems, many of which are included in his book, Slow Lightning (Yale Series of Younger Poets).

We look forward to the visit from both of these talented authors and invite everyone to join in welcoming them and hearing what they have to say. So get the word out and bring as many people as you can to hear these two very inspiring authors discuss their work.

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Anne Trubek Visits for National Day on Writing

The College of Saint Rose will mark “National Day on Writing” with a presentation by Anne Trubek, acclaimed author of A Skeptic’s Guide to Writers’ Houses, as part of the 2012-13 season of Frequency North, the visiting writers series.

Trubek will read Thursday, October 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Saint Joseph Hall Auditorium, 985 Madison Ave., Albany. The program is free and open to the public. Copies of Trubek’s latest work will be available for purchase and signing.

In A Skeptic’s Guide to Writers’ Houses
 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), Trubek takes a vexed, often funny and always thoughtful tour of a number of authors’ houses across the country that are now on public display. Houses once occupied by such area luminaries as Herman Melville, Edith Wharton and Walt Whitman figure in her stories. Although admittedly skeptical about what these buildings tell about their former inhabitants, Trubek falls at least a little bit in love with each stop on her itinerary and finds in each some truth about literature, history and contemporary America. Trubek’s book has been hailed as “a remarkable book: part travelogue, part rant, part memoir, part literary analysis and urban history” and called “relentlessly witty.”

Trubek (http://annetrubek.com) also is at work on the history of handwriting, a book that came out of her essay “Handwriting is History,” which appeared in Best Technology Writing 2010. She has published articles in The New York TimesThe AtlanticWiredDwellGOODThe Oxford AmericanThe American ProspectThe Washington PostThe Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications, and has appeared on NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” “The Diane Rehm Show” and “Talk of the Nation.” Trubek has written reviews for B&N ReviewThe Washington PostMother JonesPasteJewish Review of BooksSalon and elsewhere.

The National Council of Teachers of English sponsors the National Day on Writing annually to recognize “the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives.”

The October 18 program is sponsored by the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee at Saint Rose, Frequency North and the School of Arts and Humanities.

The remaining Frequency North schedule follows. All are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the website at www.FrequencyNorth.com or follow on Twitter @frequencynorth.

Continue reading

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Nitty Gritty Slam #28 with Meg Waldron and Robyn Bateman

On October 16 we will be getting a visit from two slam poets who have been touring the country together sharing their work. Meg Waldron and Robyn Bateman, two slam poets from Portland, Oregon, will be joining Nitty Gritty Slam #28 and taking the Valentine’s stage.

With poems like “My Ex Girlfriend Is Baking Cookies In My Uterus” (Waldron) and “Porn Star Apocalypse” (Bateman), we think it’s safe to assume the stage of Valentine’s is going to witness some epic rocking.

Haven’t been to a poetry slam before? It’s never too late to start attending every first and third  Tuesday of each month at Valentine’s for a night of fun, heartfelt, and sometimes raunchy performances.

Meg Waldron is a writer, traveler, and YouTube enthusiast. She was a member of the 2011 Portland Poetry Slam team and competitor at the National Poetry Slam in Boston, Massachusetts. Meg’s poetry is sharp and honest, making crowds keel in laughter at how ridiculous our very serious lives can be. She is the author of a chapbook, Sex, Drugs, Tuck n’ Roll (2011), and has had her writing featured in many poetry collections across the country. Meg’s spirit animal is a baby deer with wings. You won’t want to miss her poetry, which is straightforward, relatable, and extremely humorous at times. The chance to hear her recite some of her work in person is something no one should give up.

It’s a homecoming for Waldron, who lives in Portland, OR, but is also a product of Albany County. Born and raised East Berne, Waldron is a 2005 grad of Berne Knox Westerlo High School, and is touring the country with her Robyn Bateman, Meg and Robyn are currently touring the country, according to their press materials, “for the sole intention of making you remember your freedom of laughter.”

Waldron is especially excited to perform at a slam where she grew up.

“I have felt the need for a venue such as Nitty Gritty all my time there,” Meg says. “I am so proud to hear that a slam is finally getting on its feet there. Hearing that poets in Albany finally have a space to grow and thrive as well as hear new work really warms mah heart place.”

Robyn Bateman is a performance poet based out of Portland, Oregon. She is best described as a “perverted, crass old man disguised in the body of a charming young woman.” Robyn is the reigning City Champion of Portland, and was a finalist at the 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam and a 2012 competitor at the Women of the World Poetry Slam. Robyn rallies audiences with her high energy, quirk-with-bravado performance style and her imaginative narratives on the simple beauty of what it is to be human. Robyn has two chapbooks and has been published in a number of poetry and fiction journals.

Also, if you come to the slam on October 16, you also have the chance to read in the open mic portion of the night or try your best in the slam itself. Either way, the experience is worth the trip and we always welcome new faces to our group.

Nitty Gritty Slam takes place at Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave.) on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month. If you’re not into slam, but want to get on stage and share your work, there is an open mic before the slam. Sign up begins at 7pm, open mic starts at 7:30, and the slam starts at 8pm. Admission is $5.00 ($3.00 with student ID). This is an 18+ show.

For information on the rules and format of the Nitty Gritty Slam and to meet the team, go to nittygrittyslam.com.

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New M.F.A. Program Celebrated at Frequency North

Thursday, September 20 marks Frequency North’s first event of the Fall 2012 semester.

It will also celebrate the new M.F.A program in Creative Writing offered at The College of Saint Rose, Frequency North will host a program with its core faculty.

The reading will take place at 7:30 pm in the Standish Rooms on the second floor of the Events and Athletic Center here on campus. The readers will be Kenneth Krauss, Daniel Nester, Hollis Seamon, Rone Shavers, and Barbara Ungar.  Admission is free and open to the public.

As students, we have to present our work during every class we take. This is an opportunity to see your professors read their work. They make their students do this all the time. Now it’s their turn to feel the pressure.

The M.F.A. program consists of 48 credit hours and will offer students the opportunity to work with different forms of literature, improve their own knowledge of writing, and through the required Practicum offer experience in professional settings to start their transition into their potential careers. Students can study part- or full-time, and take workshops in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

The remaining Frequency North scheduled events follow after the jump. For more information, visit the website at www.FrequencyNorth.com or follow on Twitter @frequencynorth.

Continue reading

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