June 2nd, 1989

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“I didn’t have a chance / to say a word before you became / a character in the news...” Khaled Hosseini, Rita Dove, Philip Gourevitch, and Siri Hustvedt read Liu Xia’s poem “June 2nd, 1989” from Empty Chairs (Graywolf Press, 2015), translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern. PEN America and Amnesty International collaborated on the video series as a call to free Liu Xia from house arrest in Beijing, where she has been held since her late husband, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, was imprisoned in 2009.

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Prescribed Fire

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“My family is a group of redwoods / that sought god instead of ground...” Samoan American poet William Nu’utupu Giles reads his poem “Prescribed Fire” at the 2015 National Poetry Slam. Giles won the National Underground Poetry Individual Competition in 2015, the first Pacific Islander to win the award.

Far From the Madding Crowd

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“It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in a language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.” In this film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, Far From the Madding Crowd, Carey Mulligan stars as Bathsheba Everdene, an independent woman who inherits her uncle’s farm and attracts three very different suitors. The film is directed by Thomas Vinterberg with a screenplay by David Nicholls.

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The Restaurant Business

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In this video, Halle Butler reads her short story “The Restaurant Business” alongside her illustrations at the Brain Frame performative comics and zine series in Chicago. Butler is the author of the debut novel, Jillian (Curbside Splendor, 2015), and a 2017 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree.

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Murinals

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“The viewer has to essentially expose themselves in the most vulnerable way I can think of to another poet’s words.” Using gold leaf paint on the porcelain of men’s urinals around Miami, artist Ian Thomas installs excerpts of contemporary poetry by poets, including Frank Bidart, Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Carson, and Natasha Trethewey, as part of the 2015 O, Miami Poetry Festival.

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