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Events: Grolier Friends


Friday, September 7th, 2018
7:00 P.M.
Join us as we launch 
spoKe 5
​Patrick Sylvain, 
Audrey Mardavich,
D. Eric Parkison, and 
Erin Goodman
Thursday, September 20th, 2018
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​7:00 P.M,
Xhevdet Bajraj 
and Ani Gjika
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Xhevdet Bajraj s a poet, dramatist, translator, and professor. His works of poetry, which total more than twenty volumes, have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Danish, Serbian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Turkish, and Polish. He has been the recipient of many awards and honors, among them, the prize for best book of poetry (both in 1993 and 2000), conferred by the Kosovo Writers’ Society; the Goliardos International Prize for Poetry in 2004; the 2010 Katarina Josipi award for best original drama written in Albanian; first prize at the Festival of Monodrama, Vlorë, Albania in 2013; and the award for the best book of poetry in 2015, presented at the Prishtina International Book Fair. In May of 1999, Bajraj and his family were deported from Kosovo. Through the International Parliament of Writers and their program for persecuted writers, he was granted asylum and a fellowship at the Casa Refugio Citlaltépetl in Mexico. In the years since, he has become a full professor of creative writing and literature at the Autonomous University of Mexico City and been inducted into the Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte. In a parallel artistic universe, he appeared as a co-star of Aro Tolbukhin, In the Mind of the Killer, an Ariel award-winning film and Mexico’s submission to the 2003 Oscars.

Ani Gjika is an Albanian-born poet, literary translator, writer, and author of Bread on Running Waters (Fenway Press, 2013), a finalist for the 2011 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize and 2011 May Sarton New Hampshire Book Prize. Gjika moved to the U.S. at age 18 and earned an MA in English at Simmons College and an MFA in poetry at Boston University. Her translation from the Albanian of Negative Space by Luljeta Lleshanaku was published in 2018 from Bloodaxe Books in the UK and New Directions in the US. She is also the translator of Kosovar poet Xhevdet Bajraj's play, Slaying the Mosquito (Laertes, 2017). Gjika's honors include awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, English PEN, the Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, Framingham State University's Miriam Levine Reader Award, and the Robert Fitzgerald Translation Prize. Her poetry appears in Seneca Review, Salamander, Plume, From the Fishouse and elsewhere. 

 September 28th 2018
Poet Dileep Jhaveri

 Srinivas Reddy
tabla player Ajit Acharya
Bill Wolak
Reading from
Kalidasa, translated by Srinivas Reddy
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Born in 1943, Dileep Jhaveri is one of the most dynamic and articulate poets writing in India today. Like the Czech poet Miroslav Holub, his poetry mixes the objectivity of a scientist with an indefatigable lyricism. For Jhaveri, poetry is a theatre of ideas and emotions, and theoretical propositions. Dileep Jhaveri is a practicing general physician based in Mumbai and a well-known Gujarati poet and playwright. He has published one collection of poetry in Gujarati entitled Pandukavyo ane Itar (1989) and a play Vyaasochchhvas (2003), which has subsequently been translated into English as A Breath of Vyas by Ms. Kamal Sanyal. He has published three books of poetry in the United States, Once This Mist Clears (2014), Fire Writes in Several Scripts (2015), and Magic and Miracles (2016) by The Feral Press. In addition, he has published a book of personal essays entitled The House of Three Widows (2017), also by the Feral Press. His latest translation is titled Breath Becoming a Word: Contemporary Gujarati Poetry in English Translation published by Sahitya Akademi Delhi. Recently, his poems have been translated into Japanese in a book entitled Duet of Mists (2018) translated by Maki Starfield published by JUNPA Books, Japan. In addition, many of his poems have been anthologized, and his poetry has been translated into English, Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Bengali, Korean, Chinese, Irish, and Japanese. He has received the Critic Award (1989), Jayant Pathak Award for Poetry (1989), and the Gujarati Sahitya Parishad Award (1990). Inside India, he has been invited to read his works by the Central and State Sahitya Akademis, Universities, and literary groups. He also has been invited to read widely abroad, including at the Asian Poets' Conference in Korea in 1986, Taiwan in 1995, and such other countries as Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and the United States. Dileep Jhaveri serves on the editorial boards of Museindia.com and the Kobita Review.

Srinivas Reddy is a scholar, translator and musician. He studied classical sitar in the traditional guru-shishya style with Sri Partha Chatterjee, a direct disciple of the late sitar maestro Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, and also trained in classical South Asian languages and literatures at Brown University and UC Berkeley. He has released three independent CDs and published three books of translations with Penguin Books. Srinivas is Visiting Professor of Religious Studies and Contemplative Studies at Brown University. He lives in Rhode Island and spends his time performing, teaching and conducting research arounill Wolak is a poet who lives in New Jersey and teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson University. He has just published his fifteenth book of poetry entitled The Nakedness Defense with Ekstasis Editions. His poetry has appeared in over a hundred magazines. His most recent translation with Mahmood Karimi-Hakak, Love Me More Than the Others: Selected Poetry or Iraj Mirza, was published by Cross-Cultural Communications in 2014d the world

New England-based tabla player Ajit Acharya began his training under the tutelage of Sri Sheshagiri Rao of Bangalore, India. He also studied extensively with Dr. Rajan Sachdeva, one of the most respected and prolific Indian music teachers in the midwest. His tabla apprenticeship continues under the guidance of Pandit Samar Saha of the Benares gharana (or style) of tabla. Ajit has accompanied instrumentalists, vocalists and dancers. He has also given workshops all over the country and performed extensively with fusion, jazz, and experimental musicians. 

Bill Wolak is a poet who lives in New Jersey and teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson University. He has just published his fifteenth book of poetry entitled The Nakedness Defense with Ekstasis Editions. His poetry has appeared in over a hundred magazines. His most recent translation with Mahmood Karimi-Hakak, Love Me More Than the Others: Selected Poetry of Iraj Mirza, was published by Cross-Cultural Communications in 2014
The Grolier Poetry Book Shop has held readings for almost a century now. John Ashbery, Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, and Frank O’Hara were regular visitors while undergraduates at Harvard. Conrad Aiken lived upstairs from the store in its early days. e.e. cummings, T.S. Eliot, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and  Robert Lowell, are a short list of poets and writers who have read at the Grolier. 

Current long-time friends include: Donald Hall, David Ferry, Frank Bidart, Robert Pinsky, Peter Balakian, Louise Glück, Jorie Graham, Lloyd Schwartz, Kathleen Spivack, and Fanny Howe.

Travel books list the Grolier as a “place to visit” to learn about the rich history of poetry, while locals visit often to buy books and attend events. 

Elsa Dorfmann took a wide collection of the photographs of poets that are hanging on the walls of the Grolier, are of great interest to our guests.

The Harvard Square Business Association recently presented the Grolier Poetry Book Shop with the Cornerstone Award for significant cultural and historical contributions to Harvard Square.

David Ferry, Reading at the Grolier, February 19, 2018
photo credit, Olivia Huang

From the time I first came into Cambridge, a new graduate student at Harvard, and maybe just starting to write any poems but already enslaved by Wallace Stevens and Robert Frost, the Grolier was a magic place. The pictures on its walls of poets who had been there, and might be there at any moment; the kind conversations with Gordon Cairnie, the suddenly seeing Conrad Aiken come into the shop and knowing of his friendship with Eliot and knowing his tragic story with its wonderful title, "Silent Snow Secretly Snow", and me unable to forget the poise and dignity of the versification of his beautiful elegiac poem beginning “Music I heard with you was more than music." And back then I only knew of one other place like this, the Gotham Book Store in New York, and both places seemed to me like the center of, for me, a newly knowable magic world. These places were legends and legendary, and the great thing for me was that in the case of the Grolier, I could be there, almost any day, in the center of its world.

                                                                            -David Ferry