Colony Cafe

Woodstock Poetry Society Presents Jean Valentine and Tim Seibles

Colony Cafe

Phillip Levine sent along the following announcement for a special poetry event taking place at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock on October 22 featuring Jean Valentines and Tim Seibles.

Woodstock Poetry Society & Festival Presents Jean Valentine & Tim Seibles with a Poetry Readings and Discussion Following at October 22nd, 2011, 5pm “sharp” (doors open at 4pm) at the Colony Café (22 Rock City Road, Woodstock, NY 12477).

Tickets are $7 and are available at Golden Notebook, Phoenicia Pharmacy, and online at:

This project is made possible (in part) through a grant from the Dutchess County Arts Council, administrator of public funds through NYSCA’s Decentralization Program.

In association with Golden Notebook (29 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498;  Tel:  845-679-2205; Fax: 845-679-3291)

Jean Valentine is the award-winning author of eleven books of poetry. Her work, described as “curious, intimate, and dreamlike,” has garnered her great acclaim and recognition, including grants and fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, along with the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. She was Poet Laureate of NY State from 2008-2010.

In 1964, Valentine’s first book Dream Barker was chosen for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Her recent collections include Break the Glass (Copper Canyon Press, 2010); Lucy (Sarabande, 2009); Little Boat (2007); Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems (2004), which won the National Book Award; The Cradle of the Real Life (2000); Growing Darkness, Growing Light (1997); The River at Wolf (1992); and Home Deep Blue: New and Selected Poems (1989). She is also the editor of The Lighthouse Keeper: Essays on the Poetry of Eleanor Ross Taylor (Seneca Review, 2001).

In response to a question about writing and revising, Valentine has said, “It seems to me to be a process of looking for something in there, rather than having something and revising it. I don’t consider that I really have anything yet–except inchoate mess. As I work on it, I’m always trying to hear the sound of the words, and trying to take out everything that doesn’t feel alive. That’s my goal: to take out everything that doesn’t feel alive. And also to get to a place that has some depth to it. Certainly I’m always working with things that I don’t understand–with the unconscious, the invisible. And trying to find a way to translate it.”

Valentine taught at New York University until 2004, and in recent years has also taught workshops and seminars at the 92nd St. Y, the University of Pittsburgh, Sarah Lawrence College, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and Columbia University. She lives in New York City.

Tim Seibles, an extraordinary poet and dynamic reader, has been honored with many grants and awards, including an Open Voice Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.

Seibles’s well-crafted, streetwise, syncopated poems zero in on such wide-ranging subjects as basketball, sex, dogs, race in America, and the inner thoughts of cartoon characters.  “This is not a poetry of a highfalutin violin nor the somber cello,” wrote Sandra Cisneros, “but a melody you heard somewhere that followed you home.” Reginald McKnight testifies, “you’ll at times feel bruised, at times made love to. I read a lot of poetry. I’ve never read poetry like this.” Seibles moves, as he says, “between the polarities of delight and rage.”

In addition to his six books of poetry, most recently Buffalo Head Solos (2006), and a new book coming out in the spring, Seibles’s poems have appeared widely in journals such as The Kenyon Review and Black American Literary Forum, as well as in the anthologies Outsiders, Verse and Universe, In Search of Color Everywhere, A Way Out of No Way, and New American Poets in the 90’s.

Born in Philadelphia in 1955 to a high school English teacher and a biochemist for the Department of Agriculture, Seibles’s love for Greek and Roman mythology and dreams of writing science fiction novels were balanced by a driving ambition to become a professional football player. Drawn to Southern Methodist University for football, he found his way to poetry there as an undergraduate; then, after a decade in Dallas teaching high school English, he cashed in his pension and went on to take an MFA in creative writing at Vermont College. One of his early teachers, Jack Myers, proclaimed Seibles “a natural, gliding up in long sleek poems, crooning the creamy and glamorous politics of need.”

Seibles lives in eastern Virginia, where he teaches in the MFA Program at Old Dominion University.