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The Life of a Poet with Ron Charles: Rae Armantrout

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The Life of a Poet with Ron Charles: Rae Armantrout


Join Ron Charles, The Washington Post Editor of Book World, for an in-depth discussion with poet Rae Armantrout. The Life of a Poet series offers a rare opportunity to consider a writer’s entire career and explore the major events that have shaped their work. Readings from the work are interspersed throughout the conversation. A book signing will follow.

Rae Armantrout was born in Vallejo, California in 1947 and grew up in San Diego. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied with Denise Levertov, and a master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University.

Part of the first generation of Language poets on the West Coast, her work has been praised for syntax that borders on everyday speech while grappling with questions of deception and distortion in both language and consciousness.

In the preface to her selected poems, Veil, Ron Silliman describes her work as “the literature of the anti-lyric, those poems that at first glance appear contained and perhaps even simple, but which upon the slightest examination rapidly provoke a sort of vertigo effect as element after element begins to spin wildly toward more radical…possibilities.”

She has published numerous books of poetry, including Partly: New and Selected Poems, 2001–2015; Itself; Versed, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010; Next Life, selected by the New York Times as one of the most notable books of 2007; Up to Speed, a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award in Poetry; Veil: New and Selected Poems (all published by Wesleyan University Press), also a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award; Made To Seem (Sun & Moon Press, 1995); and The Invention of Hunger (Tuumba Press, 1979).

Armantrout’s poetry has been widely anthologized, and she is also the author of a prose memoir, True, which was published by Atelos in 1998.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post’s Book World section. For several years, he also edited The Post’s “Poet’s Choice” column in Book World. His reviews have won the National Book Critics Circle Award for best criticism and 1st place for Arts & Entertainment Commentary from the Society for Features Journalism. Washingtonian Magazine named him as one of the 40 people who shaped DC in 2010.

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required.

Co-sponsored by Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, the Library of Congress, The Washington Post and the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.



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Map Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, United States
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