OFFSITE: Experimental Plant Life: Poetry Reading featuring Desiree C. Bailey and Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Held Lecture Hall
304 Barnard Hall, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10027


The Barnard Creative Writing program presents two award-winning poets who utterly transform literary form to enact a more radical relationship with the life of plants. Yale Younger Poet Desiree C. Bailey’s poems rework the epic into an oceanic narrative of bondage and liberation amidst the Haitian Revolution. A finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge narrates an experimental relationship with flowers, birds, dolphins, stars, souls, and spacetime: “few living poets are as able to enter headlong into the spiritual state of our environment and its endangerment,” writes Major Jackson in the New York Times, calling Berssenbrugge “one of the best minds in modern poetry.” Reserve a seat on Eventbrite here

Desiree C. Bailey is from Trinidad and Tobago, and Queens, NY. Her poetry collection What Noise Against the Cane, a winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize, weaves together political resistance, Caribbean folklore, diaspora and the realities of Black life in America. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award, Kate Tufts Discovery Award and T.S. Eliot Four Quartets Prize, and named a Best Books of 2021 by the New York Public Library. Desiree is the inaugural Writer-in-Residence at Clemson University. As Yusef Komunyakaa writes, “Wherever this voice goes a Caribbean sun travels with it transfiguring what a maroon might overhear—a call awaiting response.”

Born in Beijing, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge is the author of fourteen books of poetry, including Hello, the RosesEmpathy; and I Love Artists. Her collection A Treatise on Stars was a finalist for the National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, PEN Open Book Award, and Kingsley Tufts Prize. Plant Thought, a chapbook in collaboration with Kiki Smith and RIchard Tuttle is forthcoming.  She was awarded the Mary McCarthy Award in recognition of engagement in the public sphere. In 2021, she won the prestigious Bollingen Prize for Poetry for her lifetime contributions to American Poetry.

What Noise Against the Cane (Yale Series of Younger Poets #115) By Desiree C. Bailey, Carl Phillips (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Desiree C. Bailey, Carl Phillips (Foreword by)
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ISBN: 9780300256536
Published: Yale University Press - April 13th, 2021

A Treatise on Stars By Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811229388
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions - February 25th, 2020