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'Poet of witness' Carolyn Forché to read on April 29

The Spring 2021 Zalaznick Reading Series culminates with a reading by poet, memoirist, translator, and human rights advocate Carolyn Forché on Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m. Registration is required for this free event, which is open to the public.

Carolyn Forché. Don J. Usner/Provided

Forché will read poems from her 2020 collection “In the Lateness of the World,” as well as prose selections from her 2019 book, “What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance.” The reading will be followed by conversation and a live Q&A, moderated by poet, translator, and assistant professor of literatures in English Valzhyna Mort.

“In the Lateness of the World” is Forché's fifth collection of poetry, and her first published in seventeen years. “Anyone familiar with Forché’s work knows that her poetry of witness moves well beyond stunning imagery, having broad implications for the lives it hopes to remember and the readers it hopes to implore," says World Literature Today.

“What You Have Heard Is True” was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and won the Juan E. Mendez Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America. Poet Claudia Rankine says that Forché's memoir "marries the attentive sensibility of a master poet with the unflinching eyes of a human rights activist.”

Forché's first volume of poetry, “Gathering the Tribes,” winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, was followed by “The Country Between Us,” “The Angel of History,” and “Blue Hour.”

Forché’s famed international anthology, “Against Forgetting,” was praised by Nelson Mandela as “itself a blow against tyranny, against prejudice, against injustice.”

In 1998 in Stockholm, Forché received the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award for her human rights advocacy and the preservation of memory and culture. She has received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship in Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Lannan Foundation Fellowship and Award. She is one of the first poets to receive the Wyndham Campbell Prize from the Beinecke Library at Yale University, and is a University Professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

This is the sixth and final virtual event in the Spring 2021 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series: Together, sponsored by Cornell’s Creative Writing Program in the Department of Literatures in English. Livestream is powered by eCornell.

Read the story on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

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