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Marilyn Hacker with Mary Baine Campbell

Marilyn Hacker with Mary Baine Campbell

Thursday, September 28, 2023 - 7:00PM ET
Event address: 
279 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446-2908

Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith for an in-store event with poet Marilyn Hacker to discuss and celebrate the release of Calligraphies. She will be in conversation with poet and scholar Mary Baine Campbell.

Moving from Paris to Beirut and back, Calligraphies is a tribute to exiles and refugees, the known and unknown, dead and living, from the American poet Marie Ponsot to the Syrian pasionaria Fadwa Suleiman. Award-winning poet Marilyn Hacker finds resistance, wit, potential, and gleaming connection in everyday moments―a lunch of “standing near the fridge with / labneh, two verbs, and a spoon”―as a counterweight to the precarity of existence.

With signature passion and agility, Hacker draws from French, Arabic, and English to probe the role of language in identity and revolution. Amid conversations in smoky cafes, personal mourning, and political turmoil, she traces the lines between exiles and expats, immigrants and refugees. A series of “Montpeyroux Sonnets” bookends the volume, cataloguing months in 2021 and 2022 in which the poet observes a village “in pandemic mode” and reflects on her own aging.

In a variety of tones and formal registers, from vivid crowns of sonnets to insistent ghazals to elegiac pantoums and riffs on the renga, Calligraphies explores a world opened up by language.

Marilyn Hacker is the author of nineteen volumes of poems, including the National Book Award-winning Presentation Piece, and, most recently, A Different Distance with Karthika Naïr. Her numerous honors include the National Book Award, the Lambda Literary Award, the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, the Robert Fagles Translation Prize, and the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. She lives in Paris, France.

Moderator Mary Baine Campbell is a poet and scholar. She is the author of the poetry collections The World, the Flesh, and Angels  and Trouble, as well as two academic titles, The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing, 400-1600 and Wonder and Science: Imagining Worlds in Early Modern Europe. She founded the creative writing program at Brandeis University, and is working currently on dream records of Indigenous people in the early modern Americas.