The New Social Environment#116

Radical Poetry Reading with Andrei Codrescu

Featuring political poetry read by Alicia Ostriker, John Godfrey, Sharon Mesmer, Elinor Nauen, Vincent Katz, and Anne Waldman.


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Poet and writer Andrei Codrescu curates the second installation of our new Radical Poetry Reading series, featuring Alicia Ostriker, John Godfrey, Sharon Mesmer, Elinor Nauen, Vincent Katz, and Anne Waldman.

In this talk

Andrei Codrescu

Photo of Andrei Codrescu.
Andrei Codrescu was born in Transylvania, Romania, reborn at the age of 19 in Detroit and New York in 1967-1970. A professional nomad he has lived in San Francisco, Monte Rio California on the Russian River, Baltimore, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. He is the recipient of 40,000 angry letters from Ralph Reed’s “silent majority” for urging Christian believers in the “Rapture” to ascend to Heaven as quickly as the Lord will make room for them. He did this on NPR, which as we know, is the radio station all evangelicals listen to – religiously. Codrescu’s first book of poetry was “License to Carry a Gun” in 1970, and his most recent, “The Art of Forgetting” (2019) He writes novels and essays and won the Peabody award for the film “Road Scholar.”

Alicia Ostriker

Alicia Ostriker smiles, wearing a striped scarf.
Miguel Pagliere
Alicia Ostriker is a major American poet and critic. Author of 17 collections of poetry, she has been twice nominated for the National Book Award, and has twice received the National Jewish Book Award for Poetry, among other honors. As a critic she is the author of the now-classic Stealing the Language: the Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America, and other books on poetry and on the Bible, most recently For the Love of God: the Bible as an Open Book. Her most recent collections of poems are Waiting for the Light and The Volcano and After: Selected and New Poems 2002-2019. Her poems have been translated into numerous languages including Hebrew and Arabic. She is currently the New York State Poet Laureate and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

John Godfrey

A black and white photograph of John Godfrey.
Courtesy John Godfrey
John Godfrey was born in Massena, N.Y. in 1945. He is the author of 14 collections of poetry, including The City Keeps: Selected and New Poems 1966-2014 (Wave Books, May 2016). He received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1967, and took a B.S. in Nursing from Columbia University in 1994. He has received fellowships from the General Electric Foundation (1984), the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2009), and the Z Foundation (2013), and was winner of a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant for 2009.. He retired in 2011 after 17 years as a nurse clinician in HIV/AIDS. He has lived in the East Village of Manhattan since the 1960s.

Sharon Mesmer

A black and white photograph of poet Sharon Mesmer, with her arms crossed, near a statue of a lion.
Esther Levine
Sharon Mesmer’s most recent poetry collection, Greetings From My Girlie Place (Bloof Books) was one of Entropy’s “Best of 2015.” Her other collections are Annoying Diabetic Bitch (Combo, 2008), The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose, 2008), and Half Angel, Half Lunch (Hard Press, 1998). Four poems appear in Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (second edition). She is co-editor of Flarf: An Anthology of Flarf (Edge Books, 2017) and has published three collections of short fiction, including Ma Vie á Yonago (Hachette, 2005). Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, the Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and the Brooklyn Rail. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches literature and creative writing at NYU and the New School.

Elinor Nauen

A photograph of Elinor Nauen with a shadowy background.
Courtesy Elinor Nauen
Elinor Nauen’s books include CARS & Other Poems, American Guys, So Late into the Night, Now That I Know Where I’m Going, My Marriage A to Z, and, as editor, Ladies, Start Your Engines: Women writers on cars & the road and Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend: Women writers on baseball. She has been published in many magazines & anthologies. She has edited books by Senator George Mitchell, Paul Krassner and Danny Schechter, among others, and edited and written for many magazines. She lives in NYC with a cat (Lefty) and a husband (Johnny Stanton), studies Norwegian, and trains in karate.

Vincent Katz

A photo of Vincent Katz
Vincent Katz is the author of the poetry collections Broadway for Paul (2020), Southness (2016) and Swimming Home (2015) and the book of translations, The Complete Elegies of Sextus Propertius (2004). His writing on contemporary art and poetry has appeared in Apollo, Art in America, ARTnews, The Brooklyn Rail, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. As curator of the “Readings in Contemporary Poetry” series at Dia: Chelsea, Katz edited the anthology Readings in Contemporary Poetry (Dia Art Foundation, 2017). He lives in New York City.

Anne Waldman

Photograph of Anne Waldman seated on a bench wearing a gold sweater.
Photo of Anne Waldman in front of artwork by Pat Steir. Photo: Nina Subin.
Internationally recognized and acclaimed poet Anne Waldman has been an active member of the “Outrider” experimental poetry community, a culture she has helped create and nurture for over four decades as writer, editor, teacher, performer, magpie scholar, infra-structure curator, and cultural/political activist. Her poetry is recognized in the lineage of Whitman and Ginsberg, and in the Beat, New York School, and Black Mountain trajectories of the New American Poetry. But has raised the bar as a feminist, activist, and powerful performer. She remains a highly original “open field investigator” of consciousness, committed to the possibilities of radical shifts of language and states of mind to create new modal structures and montages of attention.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.