Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders

After many late night conference calls and over a thousand emails, The Strangest of Theatres - Poets Writing Across Borders will be launched this March at AWP in Boston. Once upon a time my friend Ilya and I were talking about the possibilities young poets had in the United States. After finishing college, what avenues were open to a poet hoping to explore the world? Perhaps Peace Corps, perhaps a Fulbright (they are now available for those with a B.A.) but how would they know about such options?

Fast forward five years and Ilya Kaminsky has a new job at The Poetry Foundation. Remember, that idea we had, he writes. Want to do it? 

With the copiloting of Brian Turner and Jared Hawkley we began to dream. Who would we ask for essays on their time exploring the world? Carolyn Forche? Naomi Shihab Nye? Yusef Komunyakaa?

How grateful we were when each poet said yes.

The amazing poet and editor Catherine Barnett joined us six months into the project and made all the difference. She taught me the delicate balance of editing the work of prose as opposed to poetry. How to work with writers that one admires and is in awe of -- and still to offer suggestions.

The book is available for preorder now. Other poets included are Elizabeth Austen, Katharine Whitcomb, Derrick Burleson and Aimee Nezhukumathil I'll be writing more about it in the month to come. For now, you might just want to reserve a copy.

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