CHAIR: JONATHAN CREASY

For this panel, two Irish poets (Elaine Feeney, Stephen Sexton) whose work is influenced by American poetry and two American poets (Erika Meitner, Wayne Miller) whose work is influenced by Irish poetry will talk about their interests in aesthetic “cross-pollination” and hybridity. It’s important to note that all these poets see themselves writing from within their respective national traditions; none is a significant outlier in the context of his/her contemporary poetic locus or moment. Thus, the conversation will focus on how each poet brings transatlantic influence into his/her home tradition without abandoning that home tradition—how each poet, in other words, is complicating his/her national poetics by engaging in a sustained way with poetry from beyond his/her borders.

In terms of structure, the panel will begin with each poet reading 1-3 poems (5-6 minutes per poet) that demonstrate transatlantic influence. Then the panelists will facilitate a discussion among themselves—and with questions from the audience—on how those influences manifest in the work. Some essential questions: (1) What is the benefit to these poets of reaching beyond their national poetic traditions? (2) How has aesthetically “cross-pollinated” work by these poets been received? (3) Is our contemporary moment a particularly robust one for this sort of “cross-pollination”—and, if so, why?

Bios:

ELAINE FEENEY, from Galway, is both a “performance poet” and a “page poet” who has published three collections: Rise (Salmon, 2017), The Radio Was Gospel (2013), and Where’s Katie? (2010). She has won the Cúirt Festival Poetry Grand Slam. Her interdisciplinary piece Wrongheaded, which includes dance, film, and narrative on the subject of bodily choice in Ireland, inspired a film of the same name, directed by Mary Wycherly. Feeney teaches at NUI Galway and St. Jarlath’s College.

ERIKA MEITNER is the author of five books of poems, most recently Holy Moly Carry Me (BOA, 2018) and Copia (2014). She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the University of Wisconsin; in 2015 she was the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast. She teaches in the MFA creative writing program at Virginia Tech.

WAYNE MILLER is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Post- (Milkweed, 2016), which won the UNT Rilke Prize (for the best US poetry book of the year by a “mid-career poet”) and the Colorado Book Award. He has co-translated two books by the Albanian poet Moikom Zeqo, and he has co-edited three books, including Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century (Milkweed, 2016) and New European Poets (Graywolf, 2008). In 2013 he was the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast. He teaches at the University of Colorado Denver and edits the literary magazine Copper Nickel.

STEPHEN SEXTON lives in Belfast and holds a PhD from Queen’s University, where he now teaches in the Seamus Heaney Centre. He has won the Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, the National Poetry Competition from the Poetry Society, and an ACES award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. His pamphlet, Oils (Emma Press, 2014), was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice winner, and his first collection, If All the World and Love Were Young, is forthcoming in April 2019 from Penguin.

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