Welcome to Podium! Issue 10. Podium publishes exclusive work by students who have participated in an Unterberg Poetry Center workshop or class— from first-time to seasoned. At the end of each semester, instructors select either a novel excerpt, short story, poem or other work by one student from each class to showcase his/her work in Podium.
92Y Video: From the Poetry Center Archive: Pico Iyer
Travel writer Pico Iyer first read at 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center in 2005. Today’s featured recording is an excerpt from that appearance. In this video he describes a recent journey to India and the mystifying experience of attempting to decipher the strange English street-signs he encountered all around him.
“Last Wednesday found me sitting in the shadow of the Himalayas, surrounded by snowcaps and red-robed monks. Last Thursday I was in Singapore. Last Friday I was in Los Angeles. Now I don’t have a clue where I am,” he said from stage that night, having been introduced, by Caryl Phillips, as “the most global of souls—sensitive and curious about everything. A shining example of how one might live in this brave, new, hybrid world as both a writer and a thinker.”
Iyer’s new book, The Man Within My Head, focuses on his obsession with Graham Greene while also featuring passages of memoir about his family and dispatches from faraway places. He’ll be at 92Y on February 9th for a reading from this book.
What gives the book its distinction is “the range of [Iyer’s] sympathies—for a diversity of cultures, for varieties of religious belief, for opposed political positions—and his luminous intelligence,” wroteThe Wall Street Journal. Iyer’s reading partner on February 9th will be Rebecca Solnit, whose own work is well known for its range of sympathies and luminous intelligence. Her new book, From the Faraway Nearby, comes out in 2013, and we hope she’ll read some passages from it.
Coming up at 92Y Poetry: Jean Strouse and Colm Toibin on Alice James on February 26.
In an ongoing effort to share with our readers some of the great literary moments which the Unterberg Poetry Center has presented across the decades, this blog has begun to feature regular postings of archival recordings. For access to other recordings, please click here.
Unterberg Poetry Center webcasts and access to our archive are made possible in part by the generous support of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation.
gOld – The Extraordinary Side of Aging Revealed through Inspiring Conversations
Nino Pantano, of the venerable Brooklyn Daily Eagle, came to hear author Harry Getzov at 92nd Street Y on January 12; an event from the Himan Brown Senior Program. Getzov discussed his new book gOld, which is filled with nuggets of wisdom from seniors. He wrote:
The book consists mainly of interviews with seniors — ages 70 and up from all walks of life. Some, like TV host Hugh Downs, age 88, are well known. Among Downs’ comments is this: “It’s really hard for a young person to understand, when they see a senior citizen, that the older person, inside, is just as vital and just as interested in things as anybody else.”
The forward by author Marianne Williamson mentions “It took my own mother’s death’ to reveal to me the level of indifference bordering on criminal neglect that permeates our social, medical and personal attitudes toward the elderly in America today. Death is inevitable but unkindness and lack of understanding are not.”
Dr. Ruth Westheimer is quoted in the book as well. “Older age doesn’t mean the end of desire and excitement,” she said. “gOLD demonstrates beautifully how new adventures continue to unfold in later life and this is certainly good news for the baby boomers.”
Speaking of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, she’ll be at 92Y on January 30 to launch her 37th book, in a free event: Sexually Speaking: What Every Women Needs to Know about Sexual Health. Joining her will be two senior physicians from NY Presbyterian, Amos Grunebaum, MD, and Frank Chervenack, MD.
TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel (left) and Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson at 92nd Street Y
Walter Isaacson, author of a new Steve Jobs biography, spoke with TIME‘s Rick Stengel on January 24 at 92Y about the significance of Jobs’s contributions to the business world and industries he revolutionized.
As compiled on our Storify page, audience members shared their observations and reports on Twitter during the talk. One noted that Stengel asked Isaacson: Could Jobs have been “nicer”? “Maybe his reactions were instinctive,” Isaacson responded, “but when I asked him, he said ‘This is who I am.’”
Could a “nicer” Jobs have been as successful? “Could he have put that filter in place and said, ‘I’m going to be just as effective as I am now, but I’m also going to bite my tongue and stop myself’?” [Isaacson] wondered. “That is a fundamental question in life.” If he didn’t quite offer an answer, Isaacson did point to the company’s unusually high retention rate, and suggested that, contrary to conventional wisdom, it was Apple’s culture – not its products – that ultimately set it apart. “Creating a great product isn’t the hard part,” Isaacson said. “The hard part is creating a great company that will continue to create a great product that will be at the intersection of creativity and technology.”
Joel Salatin with Dan Barber: A New Kind of Farmer
Joel Salatin (left) with Dan Barber at 92nd Street Y on January 23, 2012
Self-described libertarian, Christian, environmentalist and capitalist Joel Salatin, who had a star turn in the movie Food, Inc., was at 92nd Street Y on Monday with Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of New York’s Blue Hill restaurant and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Their ”top shelf” talk was reported by WNYC’s Amy Eddings:
I was intrigued by Salatin’s call for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing freedom of food choice. “Carve out a spot for artisanal food commerce, like we did for home schooling,” he said. “We have a government that says it’s okay to eat Twinkies and Cocoa Puffs and Mountain Dew, but it’s illegal to drink raw milk and eat compost-grown tomatoes and Aunt Matilda’s pickles.”
He also spoke glowingly of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. He sees the three-year-old organization as the “NRA of food,” going after “overzealous food inspectors” and helping small- and mid-sized farmers like him who are developing dynamic, local food economies. There’s a lot on the website about raw milk, which I blogged about recently.
Joel Salatin said “historic normalcy” is a “domestic culintary delight.” Food tastes better. He said that, judging from the number of rock star farm-to-table chefs and sustainable, happy meat butchers, people are already discovering this, He said he wants to take it to the next level.
The Julie & Julia Treatment For Francine Segan’s “Shakespeare’s Kitchen”
A blogger at Playing The Cook, “a PhD student specializing in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature in performance” and a “really bad cook”, writes:
For my birthday this year, my brother got me a cookbook - Shakespeare’s Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook, by Francine Segan. I’ve been trying to do more cooking recently, and hopefully progress a bit past the “throw together a stir-fry” phase that I’m currently in. In order to force myself to put in some time in the kitchen, I’ve decided to do the Julie & Julia thing, and attempt to make every single recipe in the book before the year is out.
We wish him the best of luck, and look forward to his updates. As he noted: “To successfully complete this project, I need to make an average of two recipes per week.”
92Y Video: Newt Gingrich On Citizens United: It Will Help Middle-Class Candidates
Today is the two-year anniversary of the controversial Citizens United ruling and demonstrators are planning protests at courthouses across the country. Occupy the Courts demonstrations, as they’re being called, are spearheaded by Move to Amend, who wrote on their website: “The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law.”
In light of this, we wanted to return to Newt Gingrich’s comments on the issue at 92nd Street Y, when he was here for In The News with Jeff Greenfield in 2010. In response to question about Citizens United, Newt explained: “I believe we need to recognize that the effect of virtually all efforts to limit political speech...have crippled middle-class candidates, helped the very rich, and helped big institutions.’ He continued, “I think you’d have a much healthier and freer system if you said any American can give any amount of after-tax income, as long a they report it every night on the internet so everybody else can determine who’s supporting who.” His answer drew applause from many in the audience, but moderator Jeff Greenfield pressed him further. Watch the video below.
‘Another Event I Won’t Soon Forget’: Sapphire and Sherman Alexie At 92Y
Today’s guest post on poetry readings at 92nd Street Y is by Billy Merrell, author of Talking In The Dark and co-editor of The Full Spectrum, which received a Lambda Literary Award. He serves as Web Developer for Poets.org, the website of the Academy of American Poets. Merrell visited the Unterberg Poetry Center on Monday, November 21, for a reading by Sapphire and Sherman Alexie:
Caution: video contains profanity
I’ve never seen so many young people at a 92Y event before. I’ve attended close to a dozen of them over the years, from readings to centennial remembrances to interviews with singer-songwriters and graphic designers. Not even at 2008’s sold-out tribute to Maurice Sendak, an event I’ll remember for the rest of my life, did I see as many kids as at the recent readings by Sapphire and Sherman Alexie.
Students from three different New York City high-schools were in attendance (part of the Poetry Center Schools Project), and their presence was felt throughout. When Bernard Schwartz, Director of the Unterberg Poetry Center, announced that the students had met with the writers earlier in the evening and would be receiving free copies of their books, there was a collective cheer. It’s rare to hear such enthusiasm at a poetry event—and this was before the authors had even taken the stage. At that moment, I knew something special was in store, and I was right.
92Y Video: 4 Things You Can Do Right Now To Prolong Your Life - Dr. David Agus with Connie Chung
Dr. David Agus, author of End of Illness, spoke Connie Chung at 92nd Street Y recently, and discussed four things you can do to prolong your life—take baby aspirin, a statin (like Lipitor), get your flu shot and wear better shoes. He also shared some information that some might find shocking: “If you look at the study on vitamins ... there has never been one to show a benefit with over a thousand people.”
The talk with Dr. David Agus and Connie Chung is part of the 92YU series. 92YU unites the best minds from universities and organizations all over the world and welcomes them to 92Y! Up next on February 2 is The Greatest Physics Discoveries of the 20th Century with David C. Cassidy, PhD.
92Y Video: Donna Karan On Her Foundation Urban Zen
Donna Karan sat down with Fern Mallis on January 12 at 92nd Street Y, for the Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis series. In the video clip above, Karan talks about the inspiration and vision for her foundation, Urban Zen, founded to create, connect and collaborate in order to raise awareness and inspire change in Haiti. “It’s not about me,” she said, “it’s about the we.”
Win Tickets To See Woody Allen At 92Y - Tell Us Your Favorite Woody Allen Film!
What’s your favorite Woody Allen film? Let us know on our Facebook page to be entered into drawing for two tickets to see Woody Allen’s sold out talk and screening at 92nd Street Y on February 21. “Reel Pieces” Moderator Annette Insdorf will interview Woody Allen, with special guest Dick Cavett, before a screening of Radio Days, Mr. Allen’s classic depiction of the heyday of live radio. Enter here!
When the 92nd Street Y launches its ambitious five-week-long project, on Jan. 9, it will mark a significant change in the way one of the city’s most esteemed arts institutions does its work. For the first time in its history, the Y’s Tisch Center for the Arts is drawing on nearly all of the resources of 92Y’s many departments to present an interdisciplinary series of programs that will include concerts, lectures, readings, classes, film screenings and dance performances.
For example, January 15 brings Following in the Footsteps, a a dance pick in The New Yorker‘s Goings On About Town. Following in the Footsteps is a free event. Join dance scholars Judith Brin Ingber and Judith Chazin-Bennahum for presentations about the legacy of Jewish figures in dance. The conversation and questions will be moderated by dance critic Mindy Aloff, beginning at 3 pm, followed by book signings and reception.
Learn more and get specially priced $18 tickets to the uptown 92Y events using this link (discount code: terezin18) or 2 for 1 tickets to Will to Learn: A Day of Talks Honoring the Great Minds of Terezin at 92YTribeca (discount code: tztwo).
Paul Krugman: The Economic Crisis Will Permanently Scar New Graduates
Paul Krugman: “How long does it take you as an individual to recover from the fact that you happen to graduate from college into a bad job market? And the answer is forever. It scars your entire work career. You will never recover from the fact. So the kids that are graduating into the 2011 job market are never going to have the lives they should have had. And this is going on. At the moment, it does not look like the 2012 job market is going to be very much better than the 2011 job market. So this is a tragedy.
And the fact that our political system has basically turned its back on the whole problem, that none of the discussion in Washington is about how to create jobs. It’s all about who can be more aggressive about cutting spending; that’s something that’s gone terribly, terribly wrong.” --Paul Krugman with Jeff Greenfield at 92Y March 29, 2011. You can watch the full video on FORA.tv by purchasing a 60 day pass.
You might know the name Emma Lazarus from the following lines of poetry that adorn the Statue of Liberty:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Turns out that Lazarus taught English to Russian immigrants at 92Y’s downtown branch in 1883 – the same year that she penned the famous sonnet “The New Colossus” – the very words that serve as Lady Liberty’s voice. That’s one small detail—and one of the few details of her life – that you won’t find in the smashing review from The New York Times earlier this week, of the Emma Lazarus exhibit now on view at (Lower Manhattan’s) Museum of Jewish Heritage.