An ADVANCE ticket is strongly recommended for this pairing. Click the link below to purchase.
Renowned as a “poet of witness,” Carolyn Forché is the author of four books of poetry. Her first poetry collection, Gathering The Tribes (Yale University Press, 1976), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. In 1977, she traveled to Spain to translate the work of Salvadoran-exiled poet Claribel Alegría, and upon her return, received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which enabled her to travel to El Salvador, where she worked as a human rights advocate. Her second book, The Country Between Us (Harper and Row, 1982), received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was also the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets. Her third book of poetry, The Angel of History (HarperCollins, 1994), was chosen for The Los Angeles Times Book Award. Blue Hour is her fourth collection of poems (HarperCollins, 2003). She is currently at work on a memoir of her years in El Salvador, Lebanon, South Africa, and France.
Saul Williams is one of the most recognizable and respected voices to come out of the tradition of slam. More like an old fashioned “griot, Williams comes at you with a visionary view of the music of life. He writes poetry “because it is the clearest and most direct expression of how I think. I take pride in being called a poet mostly because it feels like an ordination. I did not grow up thinking of myself as a poet, so it is an honor to be considered one. So far, I’ve written four books that fall under the category of poetry. For me, they chronicle my growth as an artist, friend, lover, father, son, and individual. My goal has never truly been to become an amazing poet, rather I have worked at becoming more expressive, thoughtful, and harmoniously balanced, and courageous enough to live my life as a poem. My writings simply chronicle my journey and vision. They are the residue of the work that I’m doing on myself.”
CURATOR’S COMMENT FROM TAYLOR MALI
Saul Williams and I have been friends (or maybe “frenemies”) for 18 years. We met competing against each other in the 1996 National Poetry Slam, a competition beautifully chronicled in Paul Devlin’s documentary “SlamNation,” where Saul was arguably the hero and I was the villain (because what’s a documentary without a villain, right?). For many years Saul lived in Paris, so every time I was scheduling the next couple months of Page Meets Stage pairings I would email him early in the morning so I might catch him before it got too late in Paris. He always declined politely, saying the timing just wasn’t right. Until suddenly almost a year ago he wrote back and said that yes, it might work! He wanted to know with whom he might be paired? I asked who his dream partner would be. He said Carolyn Forché. I said I could make that happen.
Because I had just finished taking a workshop with Carolyn! So this pairing will be a dream come true for many people, including me!
We have three types of pairings that we talk about while curating pairings. There are the ones we call Matchy-Matchy, in which the two poets have so much in common the seem almost cut from the same mold. Then there are the Mentor pairings, in which one poet has been strongly influenced by the other. Finally, we sometimes have Apple & Orange pairings where we ask, “What do you think would happen if . . .?” Dare I say that this pairing will be a little bit of all three? Do not miss it!