Light Me Down: The New & Collected Poems of Jean Valentine

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Light Me Down: The New & Collected Poems of Jean Valentine

April 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Light Me Down: The New & Collected Poems of Jean Valentine with Kaveh Akbar, Kevin Goodan, and Katie Marya

Event date:
Tuesday, April 23, 2024 – 7:00pm

Please join us with contemporary poets Kaveh Akbar, Kevin Goodan, and Katie Marya, who will read from the new poetry collection Light Me Down: The New & Collected Poems of Jean Valentine, published by Alice James Books. Valentine was a beloved fixture of the poetry community, and this collection represents selections from across her astonishing and prolific career, as well as previously uncollected poems. Fans of Valentine’s work, as well as those new to her poetry, will all find something to love in this collection. Akbar, Goodan, and Marya will read poetry from the collection followed by a conversation on Valentine’s larger role within the poetry world. ”The extraordinary poems of Jean Valentine have often existed in the between spaces, the caves, the secret rooms of the mind. They are gorgeous wonders and curiosities that bring us a new kind of light. Light Me Down: The New & Collected Poems of Jean Valentine will no doubt serve as an essential handbook for anyone looking to lean into the knotty questions of human existence.”—Ada Limón

Jean Valentine was born in Chicago, earned her B.A. from Radcliffe College, and lived most of her life in New York City. She won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her first book, Dream Barker, in 1965. Her 13th book of poetry was Shirt in Heaven, published by Copper Canyon Press in 2015 . Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965 – 2003 won the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry. Jean was the State Poet of New York for two years, starting in the spring of 2008. She received the 2009 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the NEA, The Bunting Institute, The Rockefeller Foundation, The New York Council for the Arts, and The New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as the Maurice English Prize, the Teasdale Poetry Prize, and The Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize in 2000. In 2014 she was given an award for exceptional accomplishment in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was awarded Yale University’s Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 2017. She taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Graduate Writing Program of New York University, Columbia University, and the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. Jean Valentine died on December 29, 2020, in New York, NY. She was 86.

Kaveh Akbar is the author of the New York Times Bestselling novel Martyr! as well as the poetry collections: Pilgrim Bell and Calling a Wolf a Wolf, in addition to a chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic. He is also the editor of The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse: 110 Poets on the Divine, and with Paige Lewis Another Last Call:Poems on Addiction and Deliverance. He lives in Iowa City.

Kevin Goodan is the author of In the Days that Followed, In the Ghost-House AcquaintedWinter Tenor, Spot River Forecast, and Anaphora. Raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana, Goodan began working for the U.S. Forest Service at a young age, and attended the Universities of Montana and Massachusetts. He has lived in Northern Ireland, and lectured at universities on terrorism. His poems have been published in Ploughshares and other journals. Currently, he resides in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire.

Katie Marya is the author of Sugar Work. Her poetry has appeared in North American Review, Guernica, Waxwing, and other literary magazines. She was the recipient of the 2018 James Dickey Prize for Poetry at Five Points and has received fellowships from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and Nebraska Arts Council. Her first full-length poetry collection Sugar Work was the Editor’s Choice for the 2020 Alice James Award and will be published in June 2022. She is currently a lecturer and Associate Director of the Writing Program at University of Nebraska, Lincoln.