Florida Studio Theatre And Bookstore1Sarasota Present Annual PoetryLife

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) and BookStore1Sarasota present PoetryLife for its 8th consecutive year on Monday, February 18, a unique celebration of poetry and the power of the written word. This year's events feature special guest poets Terrance Hayes, a National Book Award winner, and acclaimed British poet Simon Armitage. From stimulating conversations about artistic expression to a dynamic evening poetry reading, event attendees will gather at Florida Studio Theatre to celebrate creativity. Proceeds benefit The PoetryLife Fund, which supports educators that teach poetry in the community. Tickets for PoetryLife can be purchased through the Box Office at 941-366-9000 or online at floridastudiotheatre.org and sarasotapoetry.com.

The event kicks off with Poetry: Beating Heart of the Arts at 11AM in FST's Court Cabaret, a panel discussion focused on how poetry has inspired artists of all types-musicians, painters, prose authors, and playwrights. Hayes and Armitage will be joined by renowned local artist Bill Buchman, and all three will draw from their own experiences with poetry to share their insights about how poetry has influenced other artistic forms. The panel will be moderated by FST's Associate Director At-Large, Kate Alexander. At 7 pm that same evening, Hayes and Armitage will return to FST's Court Cabaret to read from their own work. A book signing will follow.

"I chose 'Poetry: Beating Heart of the Arts' to be the theme for discussion after having several conversations with friends in the arts," explained Georgia Court, the event's organizer and owner of Bookstore1Sarasota. "Regardless of the type of art-music, dance, writing of all kinds, visual art-conversations kept returning to poetic sources in literature. That's why I decided to explore this in our luncheon discussion."

Terrance Hayes is the author of six books of poetry and one of short stories. His collection Lighthead won the 2010 National Book Award in Poetry. His latest book, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins, was nominated for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry. He has been a recipient of many other honors and awards, including a 2014 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, two Pushcart selections, eight Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His poems have appeared in many literary journals and magazines, including The New Yorker, Poetry, and The American Poetry Review. His poetry has also been featured on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Simon Armitage is one of England's best-loved authors. He is an award-winning poet, songwriter, playwright, and translator. His numerous collections of poetry include Unaccompanied, which was published in late 2017. His nonfiction book, Walking Home: A Poet's Journey, documents his 265-mile walking tour across England working as a "modern troubadour." In 2010, Armitage was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to poetry. In the United States, he has twice been shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Currently he is a professor of poetry at Oxford University and at the University of Sheffield.

Past PoetryLife guest artists have included Sandra Alcosser, Richard Blanco, Billy Collins, Mark Doty, Juan Felipe Herrera, Edward Hirsh, Marie Howe, W.S. Merwin, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Naomi Shihab Nye, Robert Pinsky, Tracy K. Smith Ocean Vuong, and Kevin Young.

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