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.
From the Poetry Center Archive: Clare Cavanagh on Wisława Szymborska
In honor of Polish poet Wisława Szymborska, who died on Wednesday, 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center offers this tribute—a discussion of her work by Clare Cavanagh, her award-winning translator, on March 20, 2011 at 92Y. This clip also features a reading of the poem “Identification” in both English and Polish.
“I remember being at a conference in Poland with American and Polish poets,” Cavanagh recalled, “and somebody talked about Szymborska—one of the very well-known American poets (fortunately I don’t remember his name anymore)—as being a straight-speaker, and I just felt like slapping him. She’s the opposite of a straight-speaker. She’s a master of voice, and she listens to so many kinds of voices and creates the illusion of straight-speech while challenging what straight-speech even is.”
This year’s Harkness Dance Festival, wrote The New York Times, “brings exciting news: The slippery choreographer Doug Elkins has updated his 1990 dance ‘’Mo(or)town,’’ a play on Shakespeare’s “Othello” set to the music of Motown.”
This year’s 18th Harkness Dance Festival season, entitled STRIPPED/DRESSED, is being curated by choreographer Doug Varone, a former dancer with Lar Lubovitch, who opens the festival on February 17. Varone invited each artist to present a Stripped/Dressed evening. In the first half – “Stripped” – the artists show the skeleton and seeds of the full work, stripped of theatrical devices, as one might see it in a studio rehearsal. Then they present the work “Dressed” with costumes and lights in a more theatrical setting.
In addition to Doug Elkins Choreography, etc.: Mo(or)town Redux and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, there will be performances by Peggy Baker Dance Project, Monica Bill Barnes & Company and Susan Marshall & Company.
Tea, a beverage that is second only to water in popular consumption around the world, also has a centuries-old reputation for its ability to maintain or improve our health. But are you getting all the health benefits?
Well + Good spoke with Heidi Kothe-Levie, a licensed acupuncturist certified in Oriental medicine and former senior tea specialist for Ito-En. “A lot of research has shown benefits for cancer prevention, cardiovascular health, and cognitive health,” Kother Levie told Well + Good. “But if you’re drinking tea for overall disease risk reduction, it all comes down to how frequently you’re drinking it, how you’re brewing it, and what kind it is.” She gave four tips for getting the most health benefits from your tea:
This should be welcome news for anyone with budding musicians in their home, or anyone who might be considering learning how to play an instrument. And we have more good news: The 92nd Street Y School of Music open house is this Sunday, February 5. Explore the School of Music, meet members of our brilliant faculty and find out more about their instruments and pedagogical methods.
He doesn’t like to rush.
He doesn’t multitask.
That’s why he feels at home on Shabbat.
Who is it? Coco the sloth. His preference for moving very slowly makes Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest) his favorite day of the week, and by extension, Shababa™ at 92Y his happiest! Even if you don’t celebrate Shabbat, Coco is all about taking a break, slowing down and enjoying the people around you.
If you’ve never met Coco, here’s an introduction:
See more of Coco – and Karina Zilberman – at Shababa™ the Concert on February 5 (and still get home in time for the Super Bowl). And you can pick up a copy of the brand new Shababaland CD (which includes the full version of “Coco’s Song”). Coco is a regular at Shababa™, a warm, inclusive and growing Jewish community that gives families lots of different ways to explore and celebrate Jewish life and culture. Just think how Kristin Bell would react if she ever attended!
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.
This week’s Parshah (Torah Portion), Parshat Bo, mentions the Mitzvah (Commandment) of Kidush Hachodesh, the Mitzvah of sanctifying the month according to the Sefer Hachinuch Mitzvah 4. It can be found in the Torah in Shemot (Exodus) Chapter 12 lines 1 and 2. The mitzvah of Kidush Hachodesh results in us having the Jewish holiday of Rosh Chodesh which marks the first day of the new Hebrew month. The first day of the new month is based on when the new moon comes. All of this forms the basis for the entire Jewish calendar, which all of the Jewish holidays are dependent on.
To truly understand the importance of the holiday of Rosh Chodesh, we need to examine the story of the creation of the moon and the sun in the Torah. The story can be found in Bereishit (Genesis) Chapter 1, lines 14 and 15: God creates two lights that appear to be equal in strength and are responsible for separating day and night, as well as for marking the holidays, days, and years. Though the Torah does not name these lights, we can assume that the light of the night is the moon and the light of the day is the sun. In line 16, the Torah does make a distinction between the lights: God pronounces the light of the day (the sun) to be the greater light and the light of the night (the moon) to be the lesser light.
What causes the change from the apparent equality of the sun and the moon in lines 14-15 to the dominance of the sun in line 16? In Judaism, the moon plays a more dominant role in marking holidays and determining the calendar. Why, then, does God pronounce the sun to be dominant over the moon?
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.