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Shirley Lim & Dana Gioia on Formalism in Poetry! Moderated by Kate Gale

February 24, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm PST

Red Hen Press Poetry Lecture and Conversation Series: Shirley Lim and Dana Gioia

Streamed live on redhen.org, facebook.com/redhenpress, and youtube.com/redhenpressbeats

With the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Red Hen Press is proud to bring a unique lecture and conversation series to the public, focusing on the history and future of formalism in poetry.

The unifying thread of this conversation series is exploring formalist poetry and the role it plays in our culture as poetry continues to evolve. Why do we as readers and listeners to poetry continue to love the sound and rhythm of formal poetry? Why does it create a kind of heartbeat for us?

Our series is organized with a movement from the traditional to the contemporary, bringing in diverse experiences and voices. Speakers will discuss poetry’s formal foundation and how teaching these building blocks allows for growth. In order for young people to do experimental poetry, they have to know what rules to break; to play with form, they have to know what form is. In poetry, traditional forms are the way we learn technique. If poetry were dance, form is ballet.

Kicking off our series are Shirley Lim and Dana Gioia, with conversation moderated by Red Hen Press cofounder and Managing Editor Kate Gale, on the history and future of West Coast Formalism.

Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s first poetry collection, Crossing the Peninsula, received the British Commonwealth Poetry Prize, a first for a woman and an Asian. She’s published ten poetry collections, most recently The Irreversible Sun, Ars Poetica for the Day, and Do You Live In? Her poetry has been widely anthologized, published in journals like the Hudson Review, Feminist Studies and The Virginia Quarterly. It has been featured on television by Bill Moyers, in Tracey K. Smith’s podcast “The Slowdown,” and set to music as libretto for various scores performed, for example, at Oxford University. Her poem, “Learning to Love America” is regularly performed as part of the NEH Poetry Out loud program. The recipient of two American Book awards, the second for her memoir, Among the White Moon Faces, the Multiethnic Literatures of the United States Lifetime Achievement Award, and University of California Santa Barbara Faculty Research Lecture Award, she has also published three short story collections; two novels (Joss and Gold and Sister Swing); a children’s novel, Princess Shawl; and The Shirley Lim Collection. Her books and poems have been translated into Chinese, Spanish, French, Bahasa and other languages. Currently a Professor Emerita and Research Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, she served as Chair of Women’s Studies there, and also as Chair Professor of English at University of Hong Kong.

Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed poet and writer. Former California Poet laureate and  Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia was born in Los Angeles of Italian and Mexican descent. The first person in his family to attend college, he received a B.A. and M.B.A. from Stanford and an M.A. from Harvard in Comparative Literature. For fifteen years he worked as a businessman before quitting at forty-one to become a full-time writer.

His surname is pronounced Joy-a.



February 24, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm PST
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