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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
92Y Video: From the Poetry Center Archive: Sapphire and Sherman Alexie

Caution: video contains profanity

“This feels like a beauty pageant… and I’m gonna lose!” joked Sherman Alexie as he approached the podium to address an audience question during the post-reading conversation between him and Sapphire on November 21 at 92Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center.

Today’s featured video is the entirety of that evening’s Q-and-A, in which both writers—and in tones both serious and not-so—talked about the relationship between vernacular and standard English, the bleakness of life as compared to fiction, the banning of their books in various communities across the country and, finally, what they would promote as recommended reading were they themselves high-school teachers.

Sapphire’s response to that last one: “I would have them read everything. From Shakespeare to Toni Morrison, from the slave narratives to Sherman Alexie, from the Brontës to Faulkner, from Ice-T to Motown...”

Watch the clip to find out what Sherman said.

Next up at 92Y Poetry: Words & Music: The Cornet Rilke with Wolfgang Holzmair, baritone / speaker and Shai Wosner, piano, on January 23. That’s followed by Péter Nádas on January 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.

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