Merwin, Pinsky, and Powers

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
W. S. Merwin
Robert Pinsky
Richard Powers
7:30 pm

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts 500 S. Goodwin Ave Urbana

Event Description

Dante's masterpiece The Divine Comedy will provide the basis for a conversation that coincides with the major academic conference "Translating the Middle Ages," sponsored by the U of I's Program in Medieval Studies and the Center for Translation Studies.
W. S. Merwin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and essayist, has published over a dozen books of poetry, including The Carrier of Ladders and The River Sound, that have evolved from a medieval formality (echoed in his translation of Dante'sPurgatorio) into a more distinctly American voice.

Translator, essayist, teacher, jazz musician, and three-term US poet laureate Robert Pinksy founded the Favorite Poem Project, an online video database of ordinary people reading their most-cherished poems, and created the anthology Americans' Favorite Poems, now in its 18th printing. He earned the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in poetry and the Howard Morton Landon Translation Award for The Inferno of Dante.

Richard Powers, Center for Advanced Study Professor of English, National Book Award winner, Pulitzer Prize finalist, Time Magazine Book of the Year honoree, U of I Swanlund Chair in English, and author of the landmark novel The Gold Bug Variations, will moderate this expedition into the center of Dante's epic poem and its impact on literature, poetic structure, and the depiction of spirituality.

The relationship between the arts and contemporary society is constantly evolving, changing to reflect vast societal and political changes. But what effect has the mass media and rapidly changing technology had on these relationships? What about the growing trend to globalization? What is the future of the arts and the very nature of creativity?

To address these concerns, and more, The Center for Advanced Study, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Office of the Chancellor and the Office of the Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts have joined together to bring major cultural figures and public intellectuals to campus in a vibrant forum called Culture Talk. These internationally renowned speakers join Illinois faculty members to embark on a series of wide-ranging public dialogues about cultural production and its place in our society.

This year's presentation is held in collaboration with the Program in Medieval Studies and the Center for Translation Studies at the University of Illinois.

As with all CAS events, this series is free and open to the public: however, tickets are required to reserve a seat. For free tickets to this event, please contact the KCPA Ticket Office.

W. S. Merwin

Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner in 1971 and 2009 and 17th US Poet Laureate

Robert Pinsky

William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, Director of the Creative Writing Program
Boston University

Richard Powers

CAS Professor emeritus of English