Historically, Boston has been home to numerous prominent American poets. This remains true today, making its civic moniker of “the Athens of America” as fitting now as it was in the nineteenth century. This evening’s performance, directed by Poets’ Theatre President and Artistic Director Robert Scanlan, is a gathering of Boston’s best poets, including Jennie Barber, Martha Collins, David Ferry, Regie Gibson, George Kalogeris, Marcia Karp, Fred Marchant, Jill McDonough, Lloyd Schwartz, and Meg Tyler. They will read their own works paired with the works of their nineteenth-century predecessors, invoking the ghosts of poets such as William Cullen Bryant, Lydia Maria Child, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathanial Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Edgar Allan Poe, and Walt Whitman. The program will pay tribute to the Athenæum’s rich historical and literary roots while demonstrating how a living and contemporary literary scene continues to be nourished by this tradition.
Robert Scanlan is President and Artistic Director of the Poets’ Theatre, where he directs on a regular basis, working with Boston’s best actors, designers, musicians, and poets. Recent production include his own translation (with Walter Valeri) of Nobel-laureate Dario Fo’s "Mistero Buffo;" a program of African-American poetry entitled Testament on the Boston Common; "The Word Exchange," a muster of poets reading their own translations of great poems from Ancient Greek, Classical Latin, Vietnamese, French, Italian, Anglo-Saxon, and Portuguese; "Beckett Women," an evening of four plays for women written by Samuel Beckett; and a revival of Dylan Thomas’ "Under Milk Wood" at Sanders Theatre. Scanlan came to Harvard in 1989 when Robert Brustein invited him to become the ART’s literary director and the head of the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard’s programs in dramaturgy and playwriting. He continued to direct both in the United States and abroad while he headed the literary office and taught undergraduates at Harvard College. Scanlan served as Professor of the Practice of Theatre in Harvard’s English department and chaired Harvard’s Committee on Dramatics for over a decade. He won the Boston Theatre Award for Outstanding Director in 1995.
Registration begins December 5 at 9 am.
To register, go to: https://bbd.bostonathenaeum.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=300
The Athenæum's five galleried floors overlook the peaceful Granary Burying Ground, and, as Gamaliel Bradford wrote in 1931, "it is safe to say that [no library] anywhere has more an atmosphere of its own, that none is more conducive to intellectual aspiration and spiritual peace." The building was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.