Semana Poética X

October 23-27, 2011

In its 10th year of celebration, the Semana Poética (Poetry Week) is an annual poetry festival that unites renowned poets from around the world as they present their work on campus and engage in lively, productive dialogue with students and the community. Two award-winning students from Dickinson College also will share their work.  

Co-sponsored by Academic Affairs, Global Education, the Community Studies Center, and the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese, German, Russian, Middle East Studies, Judaic Studies, East Asian Studies, French and Italian, English, and Music.

Opening Reception and Ceremony, Sunday, October 23

6:30pm, free entrance, Stern Center Great Room

Headshot of the poet Merit O'Hare from Dickinson College.Merit O'Hare (USA) is a senior English major at Dickinson College. Her work has appeared in The Portland Review, The Potomac Review, Mad Poets Review, and elsewhere. In addition to being a veteran of Semana Poética VII, she was fortunate enough to be included in a poetry project in 2009, which involved a reading at the Bowery Poetry Club (NYC) with poets such as Mark Strand and Edward Hirsch. She has recently been awarded the Weiss Prize, a college grant awarded annually to seniors in the arts.

Headshot of the poet Lauren Amoros from Dickinson College.

Lauren Amoros (USA) is a senior English major who is student teaching this semester. She is working toward her secondary teaching certification, and after graduation plans on moving to Los Angeles to teach English literature. Lauren has an affinity for the written word and wishes she had more time to write.

Headshot of the Cuban poet, filmmaker, and journalist Victor Casaus.Víctor Casaus (Cuba) - poet, filmmaker, and journalist - was born in Havana in 1944. He has written more than a dozen volumes of poetry and received a number of literary awards, including the Premio Latinoamericano de Poesía "Rubén Darío", awarded by the Ministerio de Cultura of Nicaragua for Los ojos sobre el pañuelo in 1982, and the "José Antonio Fernández de Castro" National Cultural Journalism Award in 2009. His latest book, Perfume y secuencia de mujer, was published in Havana in 2008 and in Buenos Aires in 2009. Casaus has directed fifteen documentary films and two full-length feature films, and collaborated with many Cuban filmmakers on other projects. In the genre of autobiographical testimonio, he has compiled and edited many important works, such as Che desde la memoria (a fascinating combination of Che's own photography and written recollections) and Que levante la mano la guitarra (singer Silvio Rodríguez); his essays on the genre of testimonio and its relation to Cuban cinema have been collected in the book Defensa del testimonio.  Since 1996 Víctor Casaus has directed the Centro Cultural Pablo de la Torriente Brau, an independent, not-for-profit cultural center in Havana. Through its project, A guitarra limpia, Centro Pablo promotes public performances and makes CD recordings of la nueva trova (the "new song" tradition) with special attention to young songwriters; through its literary arm, Ediciones La Memoria, it publishes a variety of testimonios and other books of social and political importance; and with Arte Digital, it hosts annual international exhibitions and workshops promoting artistic experimentation in digital forms of graphic art.

The Red Devil Cello Ensemble from Dickinson College (Michael Cameron, Nicolas Cardelia, Breanna Goldner, and Yeana Jang) will perform "Air on the G String" (Composed by J.S. Bach and arranged by Johnstone).  Michael Cameron holds degrees in Music Performance from The University of Hartford, Northwestern University and Rice University. In addition to being Contributing Faculty (Cello) at Dickinson College as well as the College's Coordinator of Chamber Music, he is the Director of the Mercersburg Academy String Ensemble and teaches cello extensively in the Central Pennsylvania region.  Nicolas Cardelia, a member of the class of 2015 at Dickinson College, has studied the cello for ten years. Breanna Goldner is a sophomore at Dickinson College from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. She has received six consecutive superior ratings for cello playing from the NFCC. She also received the National Orchestra and Ralph J. Harrison for Music awards, and was selected for the PMEA District 10 Orchestra. Yeana Jang is currently a freshman at Dickinson College. She has been playing the cello for eight years.

Monday, October 24

7pm, free entrance, Stern Center Great Room

Headshot of the Chinese poet and translator Ming Di.

Ming Di (China/USA)

(aka Mindy) is a Chinese poet and translator living in the United States. She was educated at Boston College and Boston University and taught Chinese at BU before moving to Los Angeles where she writes in Chinese and edits Poetry East West, a bilingual magazine published in China. She has published six poetry collections and has translated works by Gary Snyder, W.S. Mervin, Robert Creeley, Billy Collins, Tony Barnstone, Ilya Kaminsky, Ales Steger, and many young poets from other languages into Chinese. She has also translated Chinese poetry into English. Her book-length translations include: "Selected Poems of Ha Jin" (2009), "The Writer as Migrant" (2010), "Missed Time" (2011), "The Book of Things," "The Book of Cranes" (co-translated), and a poetry anthology (anticipated in 2012).  She has received four literary awards for her essays, poetry, and poetry critiques, and has been invited to several international poetry festivals in other countries such as Macedonia, Sweden, India, Romania and Japan. She is also a musician and plays the traditional Chinese instrument, the Guzheng.

Photo of the Egyptian poet Mohamed Metwalli.

Mohamed Metwalli (Egypt) was born in Cairo in 1970. He was awarded a B.A. in English Literature from Cairo University, Faculty of Arts in 1992. The same year, he won the Yussef el-Khal prize by Riyad el-Rayes Publishers in Lebanon for his poetry collection, Once Upon a Time. He co-founded an independent literary magazine, el-Garad, in which his second volume of poems, The Story the People Tellin the Harbor, appeared in 1998. He was selected to represent Egypt in the International Writers' Program, IWP, at the University of Iowa in 1997. Later he was Poet-in-Residence at the University of Chicago in 1998. He compiled and co-edited Angry Voices: An Anthology of the Off-Beat New Egyptian Poets, published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2002. His most recent collection, Lost Promenades, was published by al-Kitaba al-Ukhra in 2010.

Tuesday, October 25

7pm, free entrance, Stern Center Great Room

Headshot of the Spanish poet, storyteller, and travelogue writer Eduardo Jorda.

Eduardo Jordá (Spain) was born in Palma de Mallorca in 1956. Since 1989 he has resided in Sevilla. He is a storyteller, poet and travelogue writer. Since 2005 he has taught a creative writing workshop in la Casa de la Provincia de Sevilla. As a prose writer, he has published La fiebre de Siam (2009), which was inspired by his experiences in a hospital in northern Thailand, and Pregúntale a la noche (2007), which centers on the life of a Catholic missionary during the civil war between the Hutu and the Tutsi in Burundi, a small country in Central Africa. He has also written a volume of stories, Playa de los Alemanes (2006), and has authored four travelogues: Tánger (1993), Norte Grande (2002), which describes a trip through the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Lugares que no cambian (2004), and Esperando la tormenta (2007). As a poet, he has published La estación de las lluvias (2001), Ciudades de paso (2001), Tres fresnos (2003), Mono aullador (2005), and Instante (2007). An anthology of his poetry has been collected in Pero sucede (2010). In 2004 he coordinated, together with Jerezian poet José Mateos, a book of poems written in all Hispanic languages, as a homage to the victims of the 11-M terrorist attack in Madrid: Madrid, once de marzo (Editorial Pre-Textos). In 2006 an anthology of his poems appeared in French as a bilingual edition: Mais ça arrive (Éditions Fédérop, Gardonne).

Headshot of the German poet and author Marina Bodroić.

Marica Bodroić (Germany), born 1973 in Dalmatia, studied cultural anthropology, psychoanalysis and Slavic studies in Frankfurt am Main. She writes poetry, novels, short stories and essays. She has received numerous awards and scholarships for her books, including the Literature-Prize of the Berlin Academy of Arts for young writers, as well as the Kulturpreis Deutsche Sprache for her innovative use of language. Marica Bodroić lives as a writer in Berlin.

Wednesday, October 26

7pm, free entrance, Stern Center Great Room

Headshot of the Canadian/Israeli poet, author, and publisher Dina Ripsman Eylon.

Dina Ripsman Eylon (Canada/Israel) is an author and publisher with a Ph.D. in post-biblical Hebrew Language and Literature from the University of Toronto. For the past 14 years, she has served as the publisher and editor-in-chief of Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal. She is also the founder of the Vaughan Poets' Circle and serves as the Thornhill branch manager of the Ontario Poetry Society. Her poems were published in various literary magazines and journals and in the anthologies Convergence: Poets for Peace, Letters to the World: Poems from the Wom-Po Listserv, Enchanted Crossroads, and Stress(full) Sister(hood). Her chapbook, Songs of Love and Misgivings, was published in September 2006, and in 2007 she edited a collection of poems entitled Waging Change: Vaughan Poets Engage in Politics. In 2010, Sisterhood Press published Dina's second chapbook, In the Heart of the City. In 2011, Dina published two poetry collections: one in Hebrew, entitled On the Horizon in the First Person (Tel-Aviv: Eked) and The Heart of the City and Other Urban Poems (Toronto: Sisterhood Press).

Headshot of the American poet, editor, and translator Cole Swensen.

Cole Swensen (USA) is the author of thirteen volumes of poetry, most recently Greensward (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010) and Ours (University of California Press, 2008), which was supported by a grant from the Creative Capital Foundation and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her 2004 title, Goest, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and other volumes have won the Iowa Poetry Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Book Award, Sun and Moon's New American Writing Award, and the National Poetry Series. A volume of essays, Noise that Stays Noise, is forthcoming later this year from the University of Michigan Press, and a volume of poetry, Gravesend, is due out from the University of California in 2012. A 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, she is the co-editor of the 2009 Norton anthology American Hybrid and the founding editor of a small press, La Presse Books. She translates contemporary French poetry, prose, and art criticism, and her translation of Jean Frémon's The Island of the Dead won the 2004 PEN USA Award for Literary Translation. She has been on the faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop for the past ten years, and will be moving to Brown University in 2012.

Thursday, October 27

noon, free entrance, Library, Biblio Café

Headshot of the Russian poet, translator, critic, publisher, and political activist Kirill Medvedev.

Kirill Medvedev (Russia) is a poet, translator, critic, publisher, founder of the Free Marxist Press, and political activist currently living in Moscow. Born in 1975, his first book of poems, Vsyo Ploho ("Everything Is Bad"), appeared in 2000, followed by another, Vtorzhenie ("Incursion"). The form of the poems (free verse) and their subject matter (everyday life) were less reminiscent of formal or even avant-garde Russian poetry than of Charles Bukowski, whom Medvedev had translated. Medvedev's poems immediately polarized the Russian poetry world. In 2003, he announced that, given the conditions of the Putin regime, he would no longer participate in literary life-he would neither publish nor give readings nor participate in round tables. More recently he joined the nascent socialist movement Forward as a contributor to its website and as an activist. In all his writings, he has questioned the orthodoxy of the previous generation of Russian thinkers, the vast majority of whom were programmatic free market liberals. Medvedev is at the forefront of a new generation of Russians who are beginning, very gingerly, warily, and humbly, to apply the European left's critique of postwar capitalism to their native situation.

Closing Reception and Ceremony, Thursday, October 27

6:30pm, free entrance, Stern Center Great Room

  • Víctor Casaus (Cuba)
  • Ming Di (China/USA)
  • Mohamed Metwalli (Egypt) 
  • Eduardo Jordá (Spain)
  • Marica Bodroić (Germany)
  • Dina Ripsman Eylon (Canada) 
  • Cole Swensen (USA)
  • Kirill Medvedev (Russia)
  • Merit O'Hare (USA)
  • Lauren Amoros (USA)

Brayden Downing, a sophomore at Dickinson College, will perform a violin piece.  From an early age, Brayden was a frequent competitor and prize-winner in many solo violin competitions in the Washington D.C. area, including first-place in the Washington Performing Arts Society's "Feder" competition. More recently, Brayden participated in two international concert tours - one in China and one in Poland - as a guest violinist for Sinfonietta Polonia, a professional Polish orchestra. Brayden has been featured in master classes with Jonathan Carney (BSO concertmaster) and Adriene Levine (former assistant concertmaster the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields). Brayden recently graduated from a term at the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. where he worked for the Washington National Opera in the artistic development department.

"Unbelievably Valuable"

 The 10th-annual Semana Poética *brought two student writers together with internationally acclaimed poets.*