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Literary Witnesses

Plymouth's Literary Witnesses program brings renowned authors, poets and journalists to the church for stimulating programs. Literary Witnesses invites poets from around the world whose work, like Robert Bly’s, bears witness to the complex spiritual dimension of the human condition. The series is in its 16th year.

Sam King read her poetry Nov. 16, 2014.

Aliki Barnstone read her poetry Oct. 13, 2014.

James Lenfestey read from his memoir Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain, Sept. 22, 2014. Audio of the reading [MP3]

Pattiann Rogers, a rapturous voice of nature and theology, read from her poetry April 28, 2014. Audio of the reading [MP3]

Kim Stafford read from Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems by William Stafford, poetry by his father that he selected and edited, on Jan. 27, 2014. [MP3] recording of the reading.

Susan Deborah "Sam" King discussed and read from her newest book of poetry, Dropping into the Flower, on Nov. 17, 2013. [MP3] recording of the reading

Prize-winning Zen poet, translator and essayist Jane Hirshfield
read April 15, 2013.

Sherman Alexie, award-winning Native American poet and writer, spoke on Nov. 12, 2012.

Nature poet John Caddy
read on Oct. 22, 2012. Recording of his reading [MP3]

Joyce Sutphen, Minnesota's Poet Laureate, read her own works on Feb. 5, 2012.

Jim Lenfestey, "A View of Cold Mountain through Poetry and Film" Feb. 26, 2012
[MP3] audio of the reading

Marilyn Nelson, Frost Award winner, read at Plymouth May 21, 2012. [MP3] Recording of reading

Literary Witnesses' 10-year anthology

Literary Witnesses is a program of the Fine Arts Board.


Literary Witnesses presented
Robert Bly and Friends
Monday, April 13, 7 p.m. Audio

“Robert Bly and Friends” at Literary Witnesses on Monday, April 13, 7 p.m., Plymouth Congregational Church
On Monday, April 13, Literary Witnesses will celebrate the publication of Robert Bly’s latest collection of poems, Like the New Moon I will Live My Life, with a reading by Robert Bly and many friends. The event begins at 7 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis. The event is free, and there is plenty of free parking. A reception will follow the reading.
Friends of Robert Bly who have agreed to participate in the evening include Dennis Maloney, publisher of White Pine Press, and poets, writers, scholars and book artists Thor Bacon, Michael Dennis Browne, Mark Gustafson, Tom Hennen, Jim Heynen, Tony Hoagland, Louis Jenkins, Robert Johnson, Ed Bok Lee, James Lenfestey, Freya Manfred, Jim Moore, Thomas R. Smith, Minnesota's Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen, Tim Young, Connie Wanek and Cary Waterman.
Like the New Moon I Will Live My Life celebrates the early, Chinese-influenced strain of Robert Bly’s work in over 170 poems. Collected from out-of-print books, chapbooks and uncollected work spanning 50 years, the poems form a companion to his most recent collection of new and selected poems, Stealing Sugar From The Castle. The poems were all written before 1980, after which Bly’s aesthetic made a clear shift under the influence of Mideastern forms, especially the ghazal.
Poet and critic Edward Hirsch wrote of this collection, “Here is the essential Robert Bly, ‘a man in love with the setting stars,’ a dark transcendentalist, a troublemaker, a mourner who keeps seeing the walls splashed with blood, a singer of boundless mysteries, imagination’s keeper, a witness to joy. He has been lighting up American poetry for more than 60 years.”
Robert Bly is the author of more than 30 books of poetry, including Stealing Sugar from the Castle: Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2013); Talking into the Ear of a Donkey: Poems (2011); Reaching Out to the World: New and Selected Prose Poems (White Pine Press, 2009); My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy (2006); The Night Abraham Called to the Stars (2001); Snowbanks North of the House (1999); Loving a Woman in Two Worlds (1987); This Body is Made of Camphor and Gopherwood (1977); and The Light Around the Body (1967), which won the National Book Award.





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