Poet, critic, and editor of Princeton University Press’s Series of Contemporary Poets Susan Stewart presents two young poets who will be reading from their work.
Miller Oberman’s original poems and translations from Old English, The Unstill Ones, takes readers into a timeless, shadow-filled world where new poems sound ancient, and ancient poems sound new. Shaped by scholar-poet Oberman’s training in poetry, medieval language, translation, and queer theory, these remarkable poems explore sites of damage and transformation, both new and ancient. “Wulf and Eadwacer,” a radical new translation of a thousand-year-old lyric, merges scholarly practice with a queer- and feminist-inspired rendering, while original poems such as “On Trans” draw lyrical connections between multiple processes of change and boundary crossing, from translation to transgender identity.
Scaffolding is a sequence of eighty-two sonnets written over the course of a year, vividly reflecting life in New York City. Guided by formal and syllabic constraints, the poems become in part an exploration of how form affects content and how other poets have approached the sonnet. The poems are often in conversation with historical, philosophical, artistic, and literary sources. But at the same time they engage directly with the present moment. Like the construction scaffolding that year after year goes up around buildings all over New York, these poems build on one another and change the way we see what was there before.
Miller Oberman has received a number of awards for his poetry, including a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, a 92Y Discovery Prize, and Poetry magazine’s John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize for Translation. His work has appeared in Poetry, London Review of Books, the Nation, Boston Review, Tin House, and Harvard Review. Eléna Rivera is a poet and translator. She is the author of The Perforated Map and Unknowne Land, and her poems have appeared in the Nation, Denver Quarterly, the New York Times, and many other publications. Her translation of Bernard Noël's The Rest of the Voyage won the Robert Fagles Translation Prize. Susan Stewart is Professor of English at Princeton University. Her recent books of criticism include The Poet’s Freedom: A Notebook on Making, and Poetry and the Fate of the Senses. Her most recent books of poetry are Cinder: New and Selected Poems, Red Rover, and Columbarium, which won the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award.