Poet Robert Bly and friends to appear as part of U of M Conference highlighting Bly's career as poet, translator and cultural pioneer
What: Exhibit opening, "Celebrating 40 Years of African American and American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota"
Where: Room. 120, Elmer L. Andersen Library 222 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis
When: 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (02/04/2009) -- The career of Minnesota's first Poet Laureate Robert Bly -- internationally recognized poet, translator, social critic and author -- is the subject of an academic and creative conference to be held at the University of Minnesota April 16-19, 2009. Keynoted by acclaimed scholar-poet and U of M alumnus Lewis Hyde, "Robert Bly In This World" will bring renowned scholars, editors, poets and translators from around the world to the Twin Cities to discuss and celebrate Bly's wide-ranging achievements and influence.
A highlight of the conference will be three evening public performances at Willey Hall, 225 19th Avenue S. Minneapolis:
--Hyde's keynote address will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16. Hyde will be introduced by local poet Jim Moore.
--Seattle author, storyteller, and musician Daniel Deardorff will perform on Friday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m., accompanied by New York author and storytelling pioneer Gioia Timpanelli, both long-time Bly collaborators.
--The conference concludes Saturday, April 18 with a festive evening of poetry by Robert Bly and friends, including poet and renowned Rumi translator Coleman Barks, accompanied by musicians Marcus Wise on tabla and David Whetstone on sitar.
From a family farmhouse in Madison, Minn., Bly changed the way Americans write and read poetry. By editing the influential magazines, The Fifties, The Sixties, and The Seventies, Bly challenged old forms and introduced readers to poets from around the world. In addition to translating the work of 23 poets from Norwegian, Swedish, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Latin, Urdu and Persian languages, Bly has published more than 20 groundbreaking volumes of his own poetry, prose and anthologies, including the New York Times bestseller Iron John.
Lewis Hyde, who earned a MacArthur Fellowship for his ground-breaking book The Gift, has known Bly since 1964 when as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, Hyde met Bly on a bus to a Vietnam War protest march. Hyde later worked with Bly on a translation of Spanish poet Vicente Aleixandre. When Aleixandre won the Nobel Prize in 1977, their book of his poetry was one of the few editions of the work available in English.
The conference will feature other scholars of Bly's poetry and storytelling as well as the history of the Minnesota Men's Conference and Great Mother Conference (both founded by Bly), including:
--Anne Wright, widow of Pulitzer Prize-wining poet James Wright, will discuss the close relationship between Bly and Wright.
--Ray Gonzalez, poet, translator and chair of the Creative Writing Department at the University of Minnesota, will discuss the influence of Bly's translations on contemporary American poetry.
--Hugh Van Dusen, Bly's long-time editor at HarperCollins, will discuss the development of the powerful poetry anthology, The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart.
--English scholar of Persian and Sufism Leonard Lewisohn with discuss the process of translating with Bly the poems of iconic 14th century Persian poet Hafiz.
Daytime conference sessions will be held in the Elmer L. Andersen Library, 222 21st Avenue S. Minneapolis, which houses the Robert Bly archives and which will present a special exhibition of Bly materials. Fee for the conference is $125 ($150 after 4/1/09); student rate is $25 ($40 after 4/1/09). For more information or to register, visit http://www.lib.umn.edu/bly/.