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Wayfaring Strangers: Two American Poets on Identity Beyond Borders

Saturday 2 April 2016

1 Hour


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Two poets Katherine E Young and Rose Solari break the myth that Americans lack a sense of history.

Born into a young country whose national mythology emphasizes the individual, Americans are often accused of lacking a sense of history. But for Young and Solari, the present is a continual dialogue with the past. In Day of the Border Guards, which is set entirely in Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union, Young balances the dangerous irrationalities of Soviet and Russian daily life against history, communing often with the great Russian writers of the past. Solari’s third full-length collection, The Last Girl, ranges through landscapes both real and imaginary, from the Italy of her grandparents to the battle fields of Vietnam to the mythical island of Avalon, where the poet attempts to speak both with and through the dead.  In each case, the resulting work is both personal in its passion and international in its scope.

Young’s Day of the Border Guards was one of Beltway Poetry‘s ‘Best Books of 2014’ and received an Honorable Mention for the 2015 Brockman-Campbell Award. Young is also a translator of Russian poets Xenia Emelyanova, Inna Kabysh and Vladimir Kornilov. Solari is author of three collections of poetry, The Last Girl, Orpheus in the Park, and Difficult Weather; a one-act play, Looking for Guenevere; and a novel, A Secret Woman. She has lectured and taught writing workshops at many institutions including Kellogg College, Oxford. Her awards include the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize, the Columbia Book Award for Poetry, and an EMMA Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Discussions will be chaired by broadcaster Bill Heine.

Programme of American literature and culture.