Friday, February 13, 2009

Poetry reading--Mark Strand

Last night I went to a poetry reading by Mark Strand, one of America's great living poets. Full disclosure: I'm a friend of a close relative of his, so while it is unusual for me to attend a poetry reading, it is not unusual for me to attend one of his.

The reading was held at the UCLA Hammer Museum, where the house was packed, and the poet remarked to me that he had read at UCLA, for this same reading series, as a young poet some forty years ago. Now that's a reading series!

I was a little bit of a poetry-phobe before attending one of Strand's readings many years ago. But his readings--funny, moving, intelligent, always entertaining--made me eager to listen to poetry read aloud, which is the best way to experience it, if you you ask me.

Last night he read "Shooting Whales", a poem I hadn't heard him read before, and which he said was based on a true story. It can be found on this site. He also read My Mother On An Evening in Late Summer, and one of my favorites, The Continuous Life. Enjoy!

8 comments:

bloglily said...

What a lovely evening this sounds like! And thank you for the links.

Gentle Reader said...

bloglily--a rare evening out for me, and quite lovely! Hope you like the poetry :)

Lexi said...

Oh my goodness, I've loved Mark Strand's poetry since high school! I didn't realize anyone but myself and my high school English teacher knew who he was, though. Maybe I should go check out one of his books from the library for a refresher. Sounds like a really nice time!

Litlove said...

I made a promise to myself I'd search out some new poets this year and I hadn't done a thing about it, so thank you so much for this introduction. I loved the poems I read via the links and will be looking out for a collection of his work now!

Gentle Reader said...

Lexi--He's an amazing poet and because I've been following his work for awhile, I feel like I've watched him grow and change as a poet, which is a fascinating thing!

Litlove--I hope you enjoy Strand's work. I don't have this most recent "Selected Poems", but I have his earlier "Selected Poems" from 1980, which is a great introduction to his earlier work. Also, later works I've enjoyed are in the books The Continuous Life, Blizzard of One, and Dark Harbor. He was our poet laureate once (it's a rotating position here in the U.S., I think for a two-year term).

Bybee said...

I know nothing about this poet, but your post makes me want to check him out.

Gentle Reader said...

Bybee--I hope you do!

James Nicosia said...

Strand is one of the two finest living poets in America, if you ask me, but certainly the more accessible of those two. It may be kind of redundant to say so, but you have to hear his poetry live to get the complete experience, and he reads his own work very well. You don't know whether to laugh or cry, and that's the point. I loved writing my book about his poetry, and yet I know I barely scratched the surface.