Browse Reading by Year

Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Stephen Dunn opens with "Under the Black Oaks," the poem he had most recently written at the time of this reading. Dunn reads poems from throughout his career, often on the theme of family, including a poem about losing his mother, an atheist's parenting dilemmas as his daughter moves toward Christianity, and an ode to the sister he never had.

Lawrence Clark Powell reads from his novel The Blue Train (1977).

This reading was given six years before the publication of Jaguar of Sweet Laughter and thirteen years before the publication of I Praise My Destroyer. It also took place during the same year the poet received the Peter I. B. Lavan Award.

Grace Paley reads pieces appearing in Leaning Forward (1985) and Later the Same Day (1985).

Lynn Luria-Sukenick reads two works of fiction ("The Man With The Blues Guitar" and "Still Life With Bath"), along with a short performance piece called "Bomb." "Bomb" is a collaboration with poet and musician Rob Brezsny, whose part is performed here by Jonathan Penner.

James Tate returns to read for the Poetry Center for the first time since 1968, performing poems from several books.

C. K. Williams reads poems from With Ignorance (1977), Tar (1983), and Flesh and Blood (1987).
Tomas Tranströmer reads poems spanning four decades of work. Nearly half of the poems presented here are read in Swedish, then English.

Sharon Olds reads poems from her large body of work. This reading includes early versions of several poems that would go on to be collected in The Wellspring (1996). 

Jane Miller reads from American Odalisque (1987), Black Holes, Black Stockings (1985), and The Greater Leisures (1983).

Thom Gunn reads poems appearing in The Man with Night Sweats (1992) and The Passages of Joy (1982).

Charles Simic reads widely from his body of work.

Ron Hansen reads two Nebraska-based stories: "True Romance," which combines two of the author's personal experiences in Nebraska and Minnesota, and "Nebraska," which was used as the prologue for a Nebraska-themed issue of Prairie Schooner (Summer, 1986).

Tenney Nathanson reads poems that would later appear in his collection Erased Art Erased Art(2005).

Kenneth Koch opens this reading with two poems about place: Senegal and Kenya specifically. The rest of the performance is devoted to poems collected in One Thousand Avant-Garde Plays.

Carl Dennis reads primarily from The Outskirts of Troy, which would be published two years after this reading.

Naomi Shihab Nye reads primarily from three collections: Different Ways to Pray (1980), Hugging the Jukebox (1982), and Yellow Glove (1986).

Richard Elman reads work unpublished at the time of this reading, including his short story "Almonds with the Children of Long Bay." He also reads "Post Time," the prologue of Namedropping: Mostly Literary Memoirs (1998), along with a short story called "Loving Strangers" from his collection Disco Frito (1988).

Bill Knott reads widely from his work. This reading includes poems from Becos (1983), Outremer (1989), and Poems 1963-1988 (1989), as well as work collected later. 

Heather McHugh reads poems appearing in To the Quick (1987) and Shades (1988). She also reads her translations of Blaga Dimitrova, which are collected in the book Because the Sea is Black (1989).

Byrd Baylor reads from Yes Is Better than No (1977) and I'm In Charge of Celebrations (1986).

James Merrill reads widely from his early work and from The Changing Light at Sandover (1982).

Joy Harjo reads poems appearing in She Had Some Horses (1983) and In Mad Love and War (1990).

In this session at Rincon High School, Joy Harjo reads several poems from She Had Some Horses (1983) and In Mad Love and War (1990). She also provides suggestions for beginning writers and discusses the writing process.

In this performance, Lucille Clifton reads primarily from Next: New Poems and begins the performance with an excerpt from her children's book Sonora Beautiful. Clifton remarks that this is her first public reading of the poem series "Ten Oxherding Pictures."

Jack Gilbert reads widely from poems published in the 37-year period between his first book, Views of Jeopardy, and his fifth book, The Dance Most of All, ultimately published in 2009.
Just after joining the University of Arizona faculty, Elizabeth Evans reads the first chapter of an unpublished manuscript titled Ancient History, parts of which went on to be included in her novel Rowing in Eden (2000).
Joy Williams reads her short story "Escapes," the title piece of her 1990 collection of short fiction.

Ann H. Zwinger reads from her books of natural history, including Beyond the Aspen Groove (1970), Run, River, Run: A Naturalist's Journey Down One of the Great Rivers of the West (1975), Wind in the Rock: The Canyonlands of Southeastern Utah (1978), and A Desert Country near the Sea: A Natural History of the Cape Region of Baja California (1983).

Harriet Doerr discusses old age, living in Mexico, and the need to combine experience, imagination, and observation when writing. She reads the first chapter of a story published in 1986 called "Picnic at Amapolas," and she also reads a short excerpt from a chapter called "Immense Distances, Extraordinary Events" in her novel Stones for Ibarra (1984), which covers a woman's experience sorting through her deceased husband's belongings.

Luci Tapahonso reads from her collections Seasonal Woman (1982) and A Breeze Swept Through (1987), beginning with a piece that combines spoken poetry with song.

In this question and answer session at Rincon High School, Byrd Baylor discusses her inspirations, writing process, and experience as a writer, in addition to her connection to nature, the land, and ceremonies. She also reads from I'm in Charge of Celebrations (1986). 

Sandra Cisneros reads short stories from The House on Mango Street (1984) and Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories (1991) and poetry from My Wicked Wicked Ways (1987).

Charles Bernstein reads from the manuscript of Rough Trades as well as from the published collections The Sophist, Controlling Interest, and Four Poems.

Pat Mora reads from her first two books of poems, Chants (1984) and Borders (1986), as well as poems that would later be published, sometimes in different versions, in Communion (1991) and Agua Santa (1997). Mora, who hails from El Paso, includes several poems about the desert in honor of what she describes as "probably the first time I have done a reading in another desert area."

Alice Fulton reads from three books: Powers of Congress, Palladium, and Dance Script with Electric Ballerina. "Losing It," from Powers of Congress, was collected two years after this reading.

Rolando Hinojosa reads widely from his work in English and Spanish.

N. Scott Momaday reads from his novel The Ancient Child (1989), then under the working title Set, the Kiowa word for 'bear.'
Barbara Anderson reads from her second collection of poems, Junk City (1987), as well as poems that were as yet unpublished at the time of the reading.
Nancy Mairs reads from a draft version of a manuscript that would later be published as Remembering the Bone House: An Erotics of Place and Space (1989).
This celebration of Ruth Wulpi Meenan's life and work includes reflections and excerpts from her biography, poems, and songs, performed by Francesca Jarvis, Edna Church, and David J. Ashcraft. At the end, the audience is invited to contribute memories and reflections, and the event concludes with orchestral/choral performances of "Silent Night," "Joy to the World," and Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," among others.

Poet and playwright Denise Chávez reads from her poems and short stories, and also performs some scenes from her stories, drawing from her work in the theater arts. She reads first from Descansos: An Interrupted Journey (a 1995 collaboration with Rudolfo A. Anaya and Juan Estevan Arellano, combining photography and creative writing), which explores the cultural and personal histories surrounding roadside crosses. She also reads from Face of an Angel (1994), a novel about a career waitress, exploring themes of divorce, race, and childbirth.

Miroslav Holub reads widely from his extensive body of work, reading some poems in both English and Czech.

Tomas Tranströmer reads translations of poems that first appeared in For the Living and the Dead (För levande och döda, 1989). Some poems are performed in Swedish and English. In the question and answer session that follows the reading, Tranströmer discusses the collaborative nature of the translation process.

Tim O'Brien reads his short story "How to Tell a True War Story," later published in The Things They Carried (1990). This reading was given as part of the Writers at Work series.

In this performance, Jimmy Santiago Baca reads from Black Mesa Poems, a collection published the year after this reading took place. He also performs poems from Martín & Meditations on the South Valley, a book that was awarded the Before Columbus American Book Award and earned Jimmy Santiago Baca an NEA grant for the year of this reading.

Richard Jackson reads long poems from his collection Worlds Apart (1987) and others that would be collected in Alive All Day (1992). He begins with a poem by Thomas Hardy, "I Looked Up from My Writing."
Terry McMillan reads from her novel Disappearing Acts (1989).

This reading begins with Olga Broumas reading her translations of the Greek poet Odysseas Elytis. Sometimes performing poems in Greek and sometimes performing in English, Broumas experiments with the delivery of each translation and reads one poem by moving between Greek and English as she reads. Broumas also reads from five of her own books: Beginning With O, Pastoral Jazz, Soie Sauvage, Caritas, and Perpetua.

Beverly Dahlen reads from The Egyptian Poems (1983), A Reading (1-7) (1985) and A Reading (8-10) (1992).

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