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Events: Grolier Friends



POETRY READING
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Tuesday, ​May, 22nd 
Lyn Hejinian​

Lyn Hejinian is a poet, essayist, teacher, and translator. Recent books Her academic work is addressed principally to modernist, postmodern, and contemporary poetry and poetics, with a particular interest in avant-garde movements and the social practices they entail. She is the co-director (with Travis Ortiz) of Atelos, a literary project commissioning and publishing cross-genre work by poets. In addition to her literary and academic work, she has in recent years been involved in anti-privatization activism at the University of California, Berkeley, where she serves as the John F. Hotchkis Professor of English.

The Unfollowing is a sequence of elegies, mourning public as well as personal loss. The grief is not coherent. Though the poems are each fourteen lines long, they are not sonnets but anti-sonnets. They are composed entirely of non-sequiturs, with the intention of demonstrating, if not achieving, a refusal to follow aesthetic proprieties, and a rejection of the logic of mortality and of capitalism. As the author sees it, outrage, hilarity, anxiety, and ribaldry are not easily separated in the play of human emotions. And they are all, and sometimes equally, the proper, anarchic medium for staying alive.

-Omnidawn 













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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, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton 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