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Isabel Allende, Lorrie Moore, Ben Whishaw And More Come To 92NY In May And June

Coming up at 92Y are Willie Perdomo, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Gwendolyn Brooks' Maud Martha and more.

By: Apr. 28, 2023
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The 92NY Unterberg Poetry Center's Spring literary season continues in May and June with readings by acclaimed authors Isabel Allende, Lorrie Moore and Miriam Toews, poet Willie Perdomo - and a dramatic reading of Seamus Heaney's work by actor Ben Whishaw, among other events.

Complete details are below, and tickets are available on the Poetry Center's website.

Seamus Heaney's translations:
a dramatic reading by actor Ben Whishaw

In Person and Online

Wed, May 3, 7:30 PM, From $20

Acclaimed actor Ben Whishaw visits 92NY to deliver a dramatic reading of literary classics and poems translated over the years by the late great Irish poet Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. The works that Whishaw will read - including excerpts from Beowulf and Virgil's The Aeneid - are published in the new book, The Translations of Seamus Heaney , edited by Marco Sonzogni. Whishaw's script was created by award-winning novelist Colm Tóibín.

Seamus Heaney translated not only classic works of Latin and Old English, but also a great number of poems from Spanish, Romanian, Dutch, Russian, German, Scottish Gaelic, Czech, Ancient and Modern Greek, Middle and Modern French, and Medieval and Modern Italian, among other languages. In particular, he engaged with works in Old, Middle and Modern Irish, the languages of his homeland and early education.

"His books were events in our lives, monuments," wrote Tóibín, upon Heaney's death in 2013. "He was not merely a central figure in the literary life of Ireland, but in its emotional life, in its dream life, in its real life. His skill at playing with rhythm, pushing phrases and images as hard as they will go, offered the poems an undertone, a gravity-a space between the words that allowed them to soar or shiver."

Ben Whishaw has starred in several critically-acclaimed films and television series, including No Time to Die, Women Talking, Paddington, The Lobster, A Very English Scandal, The Personal History of David Copperfield and Mary Poppins Returns, among others.

quiara alegria hudes
and willie perdomo

In Person and Online

Thu, May 4, 7:30 PM, From $20

Quiara Alegría Hudes' new play is My Broken Language, an adaptation of her memoir. Her credits also include the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Water by the Spoonful, and the Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights. "She is in her own league. Her sentences will take your breath away. How lucky we are to have her telling our stories," wrote Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Willie Perdomo's books include Smoking Lovely: The Remix, The Crazy Bunch and The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. "Perdomo is an electric poet. His poems crackle with energy. The poet knows his beloved barrio, what to celebrate and what to condemn. There is raw pain in this voice, and much more: humor, irony, music, intelligence," wrote Martín Espada.

Catherine Lacey and miriam toews

In Person and Online

Thu, May 11, 7:30 PM, From $20

Catherine Lacey, whose previous works of fiction include Pew and Nobody Is Ever Missing, now publishes Biography of X- a roaring epic chronicling the life, times and secrets of a notorious artist. "It is the most ambitious book I've ever read from a writer of my own generation," wrote Torrey Peters.

Miriam Toews, whose previous novel, Women Talking, was recently adapted into a film by Sarah Polley, is now the author of Fight Night. "Her books are steeped in family grief, but somehow these stories are delivered with a mouthful of ash and a lopsided grin, a stubborn sense of the absurd that recalls Philip Larkin and Lorrie Moore and feels like proof of life," wrote Parul Sehgal.

discovery poetry contest:
winners' reading

In Person and Online

Mon, May 15, 7:30 PM, Free

Introducing the winners of the 2023 Discovery Poetry Contest, which is over 70 years old: Lucas Jorgensen, Saba Keramati, Jenna Lanzaro and JJ Peña. The poets will read their work at this event.

This free reading has long recognized the exceptional work of poets who have not yet published a book. Many winners of the Discovery Poetry Contest-John Ashbery, Mark Strand, Lucille Clifton, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Mary Jo Bang and Solmaz Sharif, among others-have gone on to become leading voices of their generations.

The 2023 preliminary judges were Timothy Donnelly and Omotara James. The final judges were Kaveh Akbar, Tracie Morris and Simone White.

american modern opera company: the echoing of tenses

In Person and Online

Thu, May 18, 2023, 7:30 pm ET, From $25

From the enterprising artistic collective and masters of interdisciplinary experimentation the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) - the New York premiere of a new work presented in collaboration with 92NY's Unterberg Poetry Center.

The echoing of tenses is a new staged song cycle with music by acclaimed composer Anthony Cheung and poems by seven of today's most compelling Asian-American poets, including Jenny Xie, Ocean Vuong, Arthur Sze, Monica Youn, and others. Their texts, which are sung, spoken, and interwoven throughout the production, are interconnected through the themes of memory, identity, and assimilation. Performances by tenor Paul Appleby, violinist Miranda Cuckson, and pianist Conor Hanick.

dionne brand, saidiya hartman and christina sharpe: writing, form and black life

In Person and Online

Thu, Jun 1, 2023, 7:30 pm ET, From $20

An evening of readings and conversations on writing, form and Black Life.

Dionne Brand's Nomenclature surveys eight volumes of poetry published between 1982 and 2010 and a new long poem on the diaspora and quotidian disasters. "Brand is without question one of the major living poets in the English language. Nomenclature is an invaluable and important text for poetry readers," wrote John Keene.

Saidiya Hartman's Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2019. Her work is "gorgeous and heartbreaking," writes Daphne A. Brooks. "It is scholarship as art imbued with a kind of discursive simultaneity that yields both eulogy and possibility."

Christina Sharpe's Ordinary Notes, a series of 248 notes on history, art, language and Black life, "imagines a new model suffused with grace, subtlety, rigor and care for how to read and think with and against, which is to say, to produce true and lasting knowledge," wrote John Keene.

Isabel Allende:
the wind knows my name

In Person and Online

Tue, Jun 6, 2023, 7:30 pm ET, From $35

The most vivid image of his past was that last desperate embrace. That was the day his childhood ended.

Join New York Times-bestselling author Isabel Allende (A Long Petal of the Sea, The House of the Spirits) for a reading from and discussion of her new novel, The Wind Knows My Name, which weaves together past and present to trace the effects of war and immigration on one child in Europe in 1938 and another in the United States in 2019.

"Allende reminds us to believe in words, words of love and witness," wrote Luis Alberto Urrea. "She speaks of human hope, survival, connection, wonder, tragedy, and joy against all odds."

Each ticket purchased comes with a copy of The Wind Knows My Name in English translation or the Spanish original (El Viento Conoce Mi Nombre), courtesy of Posman Books.

gwendolyn brooks' maud martha:
a dramatic reading by Roslyn Ruff

with an introduction by Margo Jefferson and post-reading conversation with
Vinson Cunningham

In Person and Online

Thu, Jun 8, 2023, 7:30 pm ET, From $25

What she liked was candy buttons, and books, and painted music (deep blue, or delicate silver), and the west sky...Join us for a rare reading of Gwendolyn Brooks's first and only novel, Maud Martha - an "exquisite portraiture of black womanhood by one of America's most foundational writers" (Claudia Rankine). This reading, which marks the 70th anniversary of Maud Martha's publication in 1953, is by acclaimed actor Roslyn Ruff, "a fantastically talented performer whose great gift is her ability to dissect long speeches, searching them for pleasing rhythms and hidden melodies," wrote The New Yorker.

"Maud Martha cherishes her own mind. To her, Brooks gives the sensibility and consciousness of an artist," wrote Margo Jefferson. "What does Maud Martha want? She wants to give shape to the varied materials of life around and inside her. The daydreams, the duties, the nagging habits and treasured rituals, the 'knots of grief' and the surges of pleasure. Her quest is to become the best possible version of herself."

lorrie moore:
i am homeless if this is not my home

In Person and Online

Tue, Jun 20, 2023, 7:30 pm ET, From $28

Lorrie Moore's highly-anticipated new novel is I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home-a daring, meditative exploration of love and death, passion and grief, and what it means to be haunted by the past.

"Moore's voice is singular and irreproducible and always clearest in her many brilliant works of fiction, which are an endlessly rich and renewing source of pleasure and inspiration," wrote Lauren Groff. "How lucky we are to be able to hold such beauty in our hands and let it sing inside us."

About The 92nd Street Y, New York: The 92nd Street Y, New York (92NY) is a world-class center for the arts and innovation, a convener of ideas, and an incubator for creativity. 92NY offers extensive classes, courses and events online including live concerts, talks and master classes; fitness classes for all ages; 250+ art classes, and parenting workshops for new moms and dads. The 92nd Street Y, New York is transforming the way people share ideas and translate them into action all over the world. All of 92NY's programming is built on a foundation of Jewish values, including the capacity of civil dialogue to change minds; the potential of education and the arts to change lives; and a commitment to welcoming and serving people of all ages, races, religions, and ethnicities. For more information, visit