As part of our ongoing Poetry at Literati series, we're delighted to welcome Carmen Bugan and David cope for a reading in support of their respective publications, Lilies from America and A Bridge Across the Pacific. Book signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About Lilies from America: This selection of Carmen Bugan's poems offers readers an experience with all the surprise and continuity of a long, complex novel. Childhood, youth, the move from a traditional rural world, dominated by lovingly described grandparents, to exile, urban life, parents aging, children growing - all the private normalities which are so often the material of poetry are here. But, from the striking opening, where the poet's parents work secretly on a typewriter, buried and dug up after the children are in bed, on Samizdat protests against the government of Romania, normality collides with history. A reality of state surveillance, abuse and incarceration fills the poems with urgency, even as memories are revisited and sometimes revised.
About A Bridge Across the Pacific: This book is a reward for a long life in poetry, a decade of seeing my work translated by Professor Zhang Ziqing and published in Chinese journals and in his three volume study, A History of 20th Century American Poetry. As the only American poet invited to the Suining International Poetry Conference, it’s also a thank-you to the city of Suining, to Poetry Periodical (Beijing) and to Dr. Zhao Si for her wise guidance. The book documents a life-changing journey, an open door to new thought, a cultural challenge, delight in coming to Guan Yin’s hometown sangha, to walking in the steps of great poets, to meditation on the great gifts and horrors that are a part of our common humanity. It is part poetic journal, part daily record, with photos and meditative essays reflecting on many sides of an intensive period of waking and dreaming, a new vision for my seventh decade.
Carmen Bugan's books include the memoir Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police (Picador), which has received international critical praise, the Bread Loaf Conference Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction, and was a finalist in the George Orwell Prize for Political Writing, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her collections of poems are Releasing the Porcelain Birds and The House of Straw (both with Shearsman Books), and Crossing the Carpathians (Carcanet Press). She is also the author of a critical study on Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile. Her work has been translated into several languages and she is a regular reviewer for Harvard Review Online. Bugan was awarded a large grant from the Arts Council of England, was a Creative Arts Fellow in Literature at Wolfson College, Oxford University, was a Hawthornden Fellow, the 2018 Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan, and is a George Orwell Prize Fellow. She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford University. She now lives in the USA with her husband and children.
After 3 years in a factory, 18 years as custodian, David Cope later taught at Naropa Institute with Allen Ginsberg, Carl Rakosi and others, and finished as Shakespeare professor at Grand Rapids Community College. A.B. U of Michigan (1974), M. A. Western Michigan U (1994). He won the 1977 Pushcart Prize and 1988 American Academy/Institute of Arts & Letters literature award, and served as Grand Rapids Poet Laureate (2011-2014). His book, The Invisible Keys: New and Selected Poems, is available from Ghost Pony Press, and his work appears in RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music (ed. Jim Daniels and M. L. Liebler). David attended this year’s Suining International Poetry Conference in Sichuan, China, and Jabber Publications is publishing A Bridge Across the Pacific.