Carmen Maria Machado at the Kelly Writers House

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“You were not always just a You. I was whole—a symbiotic relationship between my best and worst parts—and then, in one sense of the definition, I was cleaved.” In this reading at the Kelly Writers House in 2020, Carmen Maria Machado reads from her debut memoir, In the Dream House (Graywolf Press, 2019).

Morgan Parker and Nicole Sealey at Scripps College

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“Scientists say the average human/ life gets three months longer every year. / By this math, death will be optional,” reads Nicole Sealey from her poem “The First Person Who Will Live to Be One Hundred and Fifty Years Old Has Already Been Born,” which appears in her collection Ordinary Beast (Ecco, 2017), in this reading with Morgan Parker, author of Magical Negro (Tin House Books, 2019), at Scripps College.

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Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

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In celebration of Walt Whitman’s bicentennial birthday on May 31 of 2019, Brooklyn residents—including Mahogany L. Browne, Jason Koo, Gregory Pardlo, Ben Purkert, and Brooklyn poet laureate Tina Chang—recite his 1856 poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” from Leaves of Grass in various neighborhoods and libraries throughout the borough. This video was produced by the Brooklyn Public Library.

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Life of a Poet: Ada Limón

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“[The poem] allows for a place for the reader to breathe,” says Ada Limón in this 2019 reading and conversation about her books of poetry with Washington Post book critic Ron Charles, hosted by the Library of Congress. “In that empty space we actually bring ourselves to the page, so that the writer is not the only person experiencing the poem, but the reader is part of that journey.”

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Ours Poetica: Theresa Lola

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“Alzheimer’s patients sing every lyric to their favorite songs, / and this casual act becomes a dance with defiance.” In this video, Theresa Lola reads “Sing With Me and Do Not Die of Thirst” from her debut poetry collection, In Search of Equilibrium (Nine Arches Press, 2019), for Ours Poetica, a series produced by the Poetry Foundation in collaboration with Complexly.

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Deaf Republic: A Performance by Ilya Kaminsky

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“Quiet thinking is like a current in the sea and moves freely until it’s disturbed by its own voice, and then it becomes a music each individual sings when speaking. This is what we hear when we hear Ilya read,” says poet Fanny Howe introducing Ilya Kaminsky at this 2018 reading of his poetry collection Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019) at Harvard University’s Woodberry Poetry Room.

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Bryan Washington Makes Bread Pudding

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“Bread pudding was the first thing that I baked after I came out to my parents,” says Bryan Washington in this New Yorker video about his personal connection to the dish. For more on Washington, read his installment of Ten Questions, in which he speaks about his debut story collection, Lot (Riverhead Books, 2019).

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