Poetry Reading
Indran Amirthanayagam and Brenda Shaughnessy

Poems of loss and love…

In The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems (Hanging Loose Press, 2007), Indran Amirthanayagam memorializes the Asian Tsunami in 2004. “I hid your life vest in the death trap on purpose, my love” begins the speaker in “Three Sorries” one of the many spunky and perverse poems in Brenda Shaughnessy’s new collection, Human Dark With Sugar (Copper Canyon Press, 2008).

Indran Amirthanayagam is a truly cross-cultural writer. At the age of eight, he moved from Sri Lanka to London and Hawaii and currently works as an United States diplomat based in Vancouver, Canada. A poet who works in English, Spanish and French, Amirthanayagam’s books include The Elephants of Reckoning (Hanging Loose Press, 1993), El Infierno de los Pajaros (Resistencia, Mexico, 2001), El Hombre que Rocoge Nidos (Resistencia/CONARTE, Mexico, 2005) and Ceylon R.I.P. (The International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2001) Amirthanayagam’s essays and op-eds have appeared in theHindu, the New York Times, El Norte, Reforma, The Island, and Groundviews (Sri Lanka). Influenced by Latin American poets, such as Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz, Amirthanayagam has been awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Poetry Prize of the Juegos Florales of Guaymas, Sonora, and an award from the US/Mexico Fund for Culture for his translations of Mexican poet Manuel Ulacia. He blogs here.

Brenda Shaughnessy was born in Okinawa, Japan, in 1970 and grew up in Southern California. Her poems — described by poet Richard Howard as letting us in on both the fun and pain of ecstasy — have appeared in Best American Poetry, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review. Her previous collection, Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), was nominated for the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, a Lambda Literary Award, and the Norma Farber First Book Award. The poetry editor at Tin House magazine, Shaughnessy has taught poetry at Princeton University and The New School. Human Dark with Sugar is the winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. The Village Voice has praised her “ringing declarations of erotic tumult” and stated that her “linguistic density and invention powers these poems beyond the therapeutic self-massage typically associated with her themes of love, lust, and daughterhood.”

This event is open to the public. $5 donation is suggested.

Poetry Reading

Indran Amirthanayagam and Brenda Shaughnessy
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
7:00 PM
Asian American Writers’ Workshop
16 West 32nd Street, 10th Floor
New York NY 10001
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