FINDING “WE”: HOW POEMS HELP US EXPLORE THE “I”, THE “OTHER”, AND THE COMMUNAL – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 7 PM

A poetry reading and conversation with Steven Ratiner, Arlington’s Poet Laureate.

We, the people. . .  It’s a foundational American idea: that a fiercely independent people can, at the very same time, embrace their commonality.  The very concept of we is an essential human experience as well, and one that seems endangered during these socially and politically fraught times.  Steven Ratiner, Arlington’s Poet Laureate, will offer us a poetry reading and conversation about how he has discovered a deepened sense of both his individual voice and its connection to our vast interconnectedness through writing and reading poems.  He’ll speak about his Red Letter Project that has partnered with a range of community organizations to send out a new poem each week to a community of readers that began in Arlington but now extends across the country.

As a poet and educator, Steven Ratiner’s long-standing commitment has been to expand the ways audiences experience poetry and the arts.  He’s created collaborative works with jazz and classical musicians, dancers and choreographers, and a variety of visual artists. He has published three poetry chapbooks, and his work has appeared in scores of journals in America and abroad including Parnassus, Agni, Hanging Loose, Poet Lore, Salamander, QRLS (Singapore), HaMusach (Israel), and Poetry Australia. He’s also written poetry criticism for The Christian Science Monitor, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Washington Post.  Giving Their Word – Conversations with Contemporary Poets was re-issued in a paperback edition (University of Massachusetts Press) and features interviews with many of poetry’s most important figures.  He’s taught as a poet-in-residence in over 300 New England schools and, in 2020, he was reappointed for a second term as Arlington’s Poet Laureate.

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