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April 18, 2004

Graywolf Press Celebrates 30 Years of Indie Publishing

by Ron Hogan

graywolf.gifI went to the National Arts Club the other night for a poetry reading celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of Graywolf Press, co-hosted by the Poetry Society of America. Tony Hoagland and Elizabeth Alexander started the evening--Hoagland with three short pieces, Alexander with a longer, episodic work meant to evoke the voice of Muhammad Ali (highly effective when commenting on Gerry Quarry's skills or fashion advice given to Joe Frazier, somewhat less so in more explicitly political sections). Two of the other readers, Sophie Cabot Black and Mark Wunderlich, read from new collections that Graywolf will be releasing in the fall, both of which would appear to hold great promise for their current fans and other poetry lovers based on the sampling offered. (Wunderlich got off the best one-liner of the evening, introducing one of his poems: "You probably all know what an amaryllis is. This looks like an amaryllis-loving crowd.") I'm also looking forward to reading the rest of Matthea Harvey's recently published Sad Little Breathing Machine, because the poems she read are pretty darn fabulous. Vijay Seshadri had a new collection out, too, as well as several of his writing students from Sarah Lawrence...where, as it turns out, quite a few of the other poets also teach--and where Harvey will start in the fall. So if any of my readers are young enough to be looking for a college where they can study poetry, well, there's one excellent option for you...


Sounds like you had a great evening.

I read Hoagland's last one from Graywolf - Donkey Gospel - and enjoyed it quite a bit. Haven't read from any of the others but if it's like the Hoagland, or either of the fabulous Nick Flynn collections they've published, or any of the great novels, or ss collections they've done - I'm sure they're great.

What a great accomplishment, 30 years as an Independent!

Posted by: Dan Wickett at April 19, 2004 08:40 PM
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