Walt Whitman Tribute Evening featuring Eamon Grennan, Major Jackson, and Pattiann Rogers with Michael Silverblatt, 11 February 2009 – Audio

Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on February 11, 2009.

Eamon Grennan, Pattiann Rogers, Major Jackson and Michael Silverblatt at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Wednesday, February 11, 2008. Photo: Don Usner

Eamon Grennan has said, “As far as I’m concerned, poetry is about elegy. Every poem is a memory of some kind, a celebratory elegy. Poems are like shells. Something is gone and that’s why you write.” His volumes of poetry include So It Goes, Still Life with Waterfall, The Quick of It, and the recently published Matter of Fact. He writes in both the ancient tradition of mournful remembrance in attention to the natural world and the modern impulse to seize and preserve the moment. Grennan returns to his native Ireland yearly for “voice transfusions” from his home in New York, where he teaches at Vassar College.

Pattiann Rogers is considered one of America’s finest contemporary poets, writing densely detailed, thickly textured poems describing the natural world and one’s place in it that are informed by a broad knowledge of science. In the tradition of Emerson, Whitman, and Oliver, Rogers’s wise and complex poems read like a series of witty but deeply felt explorations of the physical world and the presence of the divine.
She is the author of fourteen books of poetry including her newest collection Wayfare. Firekeeper: Selected Poems (2005), Generations (2004), and Song of the World Becoming: New and Collected Poems, 1981-2001 are some of her others. Her awards include two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Guggenheim Award, the Tietjens Prize and the Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine, and four Pushcart Prizes. She lives with her husband, a retired geophysicist, in Colorado.

Major Jackson is the author of two collections of poetry, Hoops and Leaving Saturn, winner of the 2000 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. “Jackson knows the truth of black magic. It is a magic as simple as the belief in humanity that subverts racism, or the esoteric and mystical magic of making jazz, the music of hope and love,” said poet Aafa Weaver.

Michael Silverblatt is the host of the literary talk show Bookworm, which he created in 1989 for KCRW 89.9 FM in Santa Monica. He has participated in numerous Readings & Conversations programs, interviewing Gore Vidal, Susan Sontag, Salman Rushdie, and A.S. Byatt, among others. Bookworm airs locally on KSFR 101.1FM every Sunday at 1:30pm.

You may learn more about this event on the Lannan website.

Additional photos from this event are available on Flickr.