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Wendell Pierce, Sharon D Clarke, André De Shields & More to be Featured in 92NY's Fall Programming

Wendell Pierce, Sharon D Clarke, André De Shields & More to be Featured in 92NY's Fall Programming

The season includes tributes to T.S. Eliot and John Guare (starring Ralph Fiennes and Tony Kushner, respectively), and more.

The 92NY Unterberg Poetry Center's 84th season will feature a wide range of acclaimed novelists, playwrights and poets, who will visit to read from and discuss highly-anticipated new books - and pay tribute to other great writers.

Tom Stoppard kicks off the literary season on September 18 with his only public conversation about his deeply personal new play, Leopoldstadt - followed by fellow British literary luminary Ian McEwan on September 19. The season includes tributes to T.S. Eliot and John Guare (starring Ralph Fiennes and Tony Kushner, respectively), a poetry reading by Sharon Olds, a conversation with the cast and director of Death of a Salesman , Pulitzer Prize-winner Joshua Cohen and more. It also includes online courses centered on the work of W.H. Auden, John Keats, Vladimir Nabokov and Colette, among other beloved writers.

Season details can be found below. Several events will take place at other venues, due to a renovation at 92NY. For more information, visit

Tom Stoppard IN CONVERSATION WITH Daniel Kehlmann

In Person & Online
Sun, Sep 18, 4:30 pm ET, from $20
Here's a couple waving goodbye from the train, but who are they? No idea. That's why they're waving goodbye. It's like a second death, to lose your name in a family album.

Tom Stoppard (The Real Thing, Coast of Utopia) opens the Unterberg Poetry Center's 84th season with a conversation about Leopoldstadt, his most personal play to date, which comes to Broadway this fall.

He is interviewed by novelist Daniel Kehlmann, who translated Leopoldstadt into German and whose family history, like Stoppard's own, informed the writing of the play.

"Leopoldstadt feels like an act of personal reckoning for its creator-with who he is and what he comes from," wrote Ben Brantley. "Here, recollection is a laser, a tool to be focused on a past teeming with harsh and essential lessons for the present. For once in a Stoppard work, words aren't what leave the most lasting impression. It is instead the vision of people frozen as if for a photograph, beckoning with poignantly immediate life from a distant time before they dissolve into anonymous darkness."


In Person & Online
Mon, Sep 19, 7:30 pm ET, from $20
Ian McEwan, winner of the Booker Prize for Atonement, reads from and discusses his new novel, Lessons, a powerful meditation on history and humanity told through the prism of one man's lifetime.

McEwan's "prose, so fluid and elegant, so vivid and meticulous, carries a narrative of great moment and insights of otherwise ineffable grandeur," wrote Claire Messud. "And he forces his readers to turn the pages with greater dread and anticipation than does perhaps any other 'literary' writer working in English today. Reading McEwan's work, we often find it impossible to slow down."

*This event takes place at Merkin Hall (Kaufman Music Center).


In Person & Online
Mon, Oct 3, 7:30 pm ET, Free with registration
From the right, Willy Loman, the Salesman, enters, carrying two large sample cases ... Even as he crosses the stage to the doorway of the house, his exhaustion is apparent.

In a co-presentation with NYPL's Schomburg Center, the stars of the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman-Wendell Pierce (Willy Loman), Sharon D Clarke (Linda Loman) and André De Shields (Ben Loman)-discuss the play's legacy and their new production alongside its director Miranda Cromwell.

"So many of the elements of the play are fundamentally questioning of the American dream, and when you put that through the perspective of the Black experience, that enriches it," said Cromwell. "The obstacles are harder, the stakes become higher."

*This is a free event taking place at the Schomburg Center.


In Person & Online
Thu, Oct 6, 7 pm ET, from $20
Russian novelist Vladimir Sorokin makes a rare U.S. appearance to read from and discuss his latest works in English translation, among them Telluria.

*This event takes place at The Museum of Modern Art.

WITH Tony Kushner, Elizabeth Marvel AND OTHERS

In Person & Online
Mon, Oct 17, 7:30 pm ET, from $20
Tony Kushner and Elizabeth Marvel lead an evening of words and music in celebration of playwright John Guare, whose theatrical works include Two Gentlemen of Verona, Lydia Breeze, Six Degrees of Separation, The House of Blue Leaves, and Landscape of the Body.


In Person & Online
Tue, Oct 25, 7:30 pm ET, from $20
Sharon Olds, who won the Frost Medal earlier this year, now publishes Balladz, a new book of poetry. "Her poems are pure fire in the hands-risky, on the verge of falling, and in the end leaping up," wrote Michael Ondaatje. "I love the roughness and humor and brag and tenderness and completion in her work as she carries the reader through rooms of passion and loss."

John Keene's Punks: New and Selected Poems won the 2022 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. "Wow. Get Punks. Loads of ritual and performative lyric here, essential stuff," wrote Eileen Myles. "Keene's brain ranges through the past impossibly, like an elegant thrift. Then wrenching prose poems that are pretty much explorations of radiant metonymies of someone being black and queer like only John Keene is."


In Person & Online
Thu, Oct 27, 7:30 pm ET, from $20
Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk (My Name is Red) reads from and discusses his new novel, Nights of Plague, a historical epic of murder and mystery that imagines a plague ravaging a fictional island of the Ottoman Empire.

"The impulse to ennoble the most humble among us is perhaps the best reason to read Pamuk's work," wrote Anthony Marra. "In his novels, history is both the cause and consequence of dramatic conflict, often told from the points of view of those whose stories are rarely heard."


In Person & Online
Tue, Nov 15, 7:30 pm ET, from $20
An evening of readings by contributors to Pathetic Literature, the new anthology from Eileen Myles.

"I've collected whoever's in here for their dedication to a moment that bends ... and you feel something," writes Myles in their introduction. "Each of these writers has a discomfort or a restlessness that exceeds their category somehow. Work that acknowledges a boundary then passes it. There's no institution, or subculture, where any of this all belongs. This gathering is not so much queer as adamantly, eloquently strange, and touching, as if language itself had to pause. Less an avant-garde than something really beside the point. Until it begins to steamroll."

*This event takes place at The Museum of Modern Art.


In Person & Online
Thu, Dec 1, 7:30 pm ET, from $20
Art Spiegelman discusses the enduring legacy of Maus, his classic graphic biography, after the book's recent banning by a school board in Tennessee and upon the publication of Maus Now, Hillary Chute's new collection of writing from contemporary authors exploring the work's radical achievement.

"In Maus, Spiegelman not only modeled definitively that in fact comics could be remarkably sophisticated, literate and subtle-but he also blew open about a thousand other cliches and pieties about art and representation, particularly in the expression of the darkest aspects of human history," writes Chute in the book's introduction.

A READING BY Ralph Fiennes

In Person
Mon, Dec 5, 7:30 pm ET, from $28
Acclaimed actor Ralph Fiennes reads The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot's enigmatic masterpiece, upon the occasion of its centenary and on the same stage that Eliot himself read from the poem at a 92NY appearance in December 1950 .

Last year, Fiennes toured the U.K. with a performance of Eliot's Four Quartets. His poetry is "endlessly mysterious, but I think there are also ways of speaking it that are conversational and accessible," Fiennes said at the time. "Eliot has not been a focus in the theatre for a while. In his writing there is a religiosity, or questions of faith, which perhaps is unfashionable. I love Eliot's poetry and want to enable it to be heard."


In Person & Online
Mon, Dec 12, 7:30 pm ET, from $20
Joshua Cohen won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for his novel, The Netanyahus. "No one writing in English today is more gifted than Joshua Cohen," wrote Nicole Krauss. "Every page of The Netanyahus-an historical account of a man left out of history, a wickedly funny fable of the return of the repressed-crackles with Cohen's high style and joyride intelligence."

Sam Lipsyte's new novel is No One Left to Come Looking for You , a darkly comic mystery set in the music scene of early 1990s New York City. "Reading this book is like being duct-taped to a chair with wheels and shoved down a steep hill into eight lanes of oncoming traffic. In other words: MY IDEAL READING EXPERIENCE," wrote Steven Soderbergh. "But it's more than just the thrills, laughs, and surprises that come with having mad storytelling skills; Lipsyte's affection for his characters-and the unusual ways they express that affection for each other-give it a warped sincerity that really resonates."


The Poetry Center's literary courses and seminars are part of Roundtable , 92NY's online learning destination. The courses take place live, with an opportunity to interact with the expert and recordings are available for participants for later viewing.


Thursdays, Sep 1- Oct. 27, 12-1 pm ET, $160
Lila Azam Zanganeh, internationally celebrated author of The Enchanter: Nabokov and Happiness, walks you through Nabokov's masterpiece Ada, or Ardor.

With "hurricane" Lolita (1955), Vladimir Nabokov became the international genius of sexual malaise. But if Lolita is a darker voyage through the looking glass of morality, Ada is in many ways Nabokov's great novel of happiness: a recreated Eden where the gods are two adolescents and primeval love becomes a handbook for eternity. Ada, or Ardor is a story of forbidden desire spanning nearly one-hundred years and a subversive family chronicle about the radiant and mysteriously fluid "texture of time. " In the novel, cousins consort on country estates, Tolstoy converses in secret with Proust; demons, at times, turn into "black-ocellated" butterflies. The novel, in its course, teaches us to become seers and enchanters in our own right, in order to recapitulate consciousness ("the flowering of the present"), on the threshold of other worlds.


Mon, Sept. 12, 1-2:30 pm ET, $40
An alluring representative of the Enlightenment's shadowy underside, Casanova was a priest, an army officer, and a fortune teller. He knew Catherine the Great and Voltaire and was the first to tell his own story in his vivid autobiography Histoire de Ma Vie. In Adventurer: The Life and Times of Giacomo Casanova, Leo Damrosch, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, takes on the challenge of doing justice to Casanova's drama-filled life and his seductive behavior.

This biography "condenses a vast trove of Casanoviana into a well-researched, four-hundred-page narrative that is most engaging on its subject's catholic interests as an intellectual and on the milieus he traversed as an itinerant charlatan," writes Judith Thurman. Join Damrosch for this enlightening perspective on one of history's most infamous figures.


Tue, Sept. 13 and Sept. 20, 11 am-12 pm ET, $80
In Keats: A Brief Life in Nine Poems and One Epitaph, Lucasta Miller brings vividly to life the remarkable work of one of the greatest lyric poets of the English language. A man of the metropolis, a freethinker, and a liberal at a time of repression, Keats lived dangerously, disdaining respectability and cultural norms and embracing subversive politics. Discover how some of his best-known poems came to be and what in his brief but intense life led to their creation.


Sept. 8-April 16, 2-5 pm ET, $960
Poetry Center students have called Noam Scheindlin "fantastic" and "heroic;" he knows Proust "better than Proust's mother." Spend a year with Scheindlin and Proust's In Search of Lost Time , an incomparable exploration of love, memory and desire. This year-long seminar offers a spacious framework within which to approach Proust's masterpiece and savor its infinite and subtle pleasures, whether for the first time or the fifth. Discover the beauty, profundity, as well as the distinctive humor, of Proustian style and understand the singular place this book holds not only in the history of literature, but in the history of ideas.


Sept. 14-Sept. 28, 2:30-3:30 pm ET, $120
We'll spend the first class on Aristophanes's Lysistrata, about women withholding sex until their husbands make a peace treaty, a hilarious and inspiring story for these terrifying times. Ruden's often-staged translation of this comic masterpiece provides a stress-killing romp through fascinating history and universal themes. Athenian Old Comedy was the Late Night of its time, a foul-mouthed voice of political disgust. Lysistrata is much more. Written and produced as a protest against a long and destructive war the Athenians were waging against their Greek neighbors, the play is an unforgettable send-up of bigotry and misogyny, a giddy celebration of humankind's best potential, and a rousing cry to @#%& war.

The Golden Ass is arguably the novel to begin all novels in the Western world, and a surreal, earthy romp through life under the Roman Empire. Readers may feel intimidated when facing this monument of comic fiction, because of its baroque style in the original Latin and its broad yet detailed geographical and cultural panorama. But Ruden's translation brings to the surface the vivid irony in every part of the young Lucius's adventures as he is magically transformed into a donkey and experiences what it means to be dehumanized and then re-humanized in a steeply unequal society. The translator's voice will join Lucius's as a guide to this phantasmagoria of real life.


Sept. 29-Oct. 27, 2:30-3:30 pm ET
At once a roman a clef and a sweeping love story, combining scathing social critique with a meditation on the nature of reality, Cao Xueqin's eighteenth-century masterpiece The Dream of the Red Chamber still stands as one of the most sophisticated and complex novels of all time.

Adding to its mystery, the text of the novel, missing the original ending and finished by another hand, remains an enduring literary enigma for readers and scholars.

Finishing the book is not required. Instead, we will use selected passages and outside sources to examine the novel's central themes, the historical and cultural context in which it was written, and how its narrative structure, differing from European novels of the same period, embodies a quintessentially Chinese vision of the universe.

Pauline Chen is the author of The Red Chamber and the children's book Peiling and the Chicken-Fried Christmas. She has taught Chinese language, literature, and film at Oberlin College and the University of Minnesota, and lives in Cleveland, Ohio


Wed, Oct. 12-Oct. 26, 2:30-3:30 pm ET, $240
Back by popular demand! Auden, like any very great writer, is someone whom you don't have to translate into the present. You read him and he's addressing who you are at almost any age, or at any time, or in any period.

This course will read some of Auden's poems in close detail, focusing on the thought and language of each poem and on the poems' biographical and historical contexts. Each session will focus on four - six representative poems. All the poems may be found in W. H. Auden: Selected Poems, edited by Edward Mendelson.


Mon, Nov. 14 and Nov. 21, 2:30-3:30 pm ET, $80
"Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette may be the most misunderstood of great writers. Her best work is revolutionary without seeming to be. Its subject is conventional in French literature: forbidden desire. But the desires that interest her aren't the seductions of a bedroom farce, or the passions that destroy a royal house or that ruin a provincial housewife. And they aren't illicit so much as inadmissible. They defy gender assignments that were once absolute, and mostly still are," writes Thurman in her introduction to Chéri and The End of Chér i. Delve into Colette's exploration of the evolving inner lives and the intimate relationship of an unlikely couple with Thurman, New Yorker staff writer and award-winning biographer.

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