“The Noblest Gift”: The Fight to Preserve American Sign Language Poetry Takes Center Stage at CUNY Graduate Center

For too many years, the minority language of American Sign Language—and the Deaf community that cherishes it—has been relegated to the sidelines, oppressed by the dominance of English and the hearing world. Meet the scholars and artists fighting colonialist and paternalistic attitudes by embracing—and preserving—signed poetry.
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Celebrating 15 Years of the Poetry Society of America’s Chapbook Fellowship

"We launched this series of chapbooks, selected and introduced by distinguished contemporary poets, in 2003, bringing the total of poetry debuts as of this spring to sixty," said Alice Quinn, Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America, as she discussed the PSA's Chapbook Program, which publishes each winner's work as a gorgeous chapbook, allowing new voices to reach new audiences. On June 6, 2018, the PSA and its supporters gathered at the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium at Cooper Union to celebrate 15 years of this successful program—and to honor this year's winners.

A Night of Poetry at the New York Botanical Garden

Poetry is about “slowing down and bringing people together” for Susan MacTavish Best, co-host of this year’s Poetry Society of America Spring Benefit, held at the New York Botanical Garden. That theme certainly ran through the night, as literary luminaries and poetry enthusiasts gathered on a gorgeous evening to celebrate the Society and Tracy K. Smith, Poet Laureate of the United States, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the collection Life on Mars, and this year’s honoree.

The PEN World Voices Festival as It Happened: “Beyond Borges: Argentina’s Unsung Literary Greats”

Most people are familiar with Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, but the “Beyond Borges” panel at PEN World Voices introduced readers to writers from Argentina with whom they may not be familiar. On the lower level of Book Culture’s pristine, newly opened location in Long Island City, a group of writers, translators, and editors gathered for a discussion sponsored by Words Without Borders, which is spotlighting Argentine literature in its April 2018 issue.

The PEN World Voices Festival as It Happened: A Staged Reading of “Goats”

One aspect of the PEN World Voices Festival that is sometimes overlooked in favor of more prose-centric offerings is the International Play Festival, sponsored by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, a division of the CUNY Graduate Center, which presented a staged reading of Goats, written by Liwaa Yazji and translated by Katharine Halls. The Syrian playwright tackles the Syrian conflict through the story of a small village that becomes a microcosm of the many issues at play in this multifaceted war.