UW News

May 15, 2015

David Ferry to give annual Theodore Roethke reading May 28

UW News

David Ferry, poet to give 52nd annual Roethke Poetry Reading

David Ferry

Poet David Ferry will give the 52nd annual Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Reading at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 28, Kane Hall’s room 130, also known as the Roethke Auditorium. The event is free and the public is invited.

Ferry is the author of eight books of poetry, including “Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations,” which won the 2012 National Book Award for Poetry and was praised by The New Yorker as “one of the great books of poetry of this young century.” He is a professor emeritus of English at Wellesley College.

His many honors include the Lenore Marshall Prize, Bingham Poetry Prize, Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress and the Ruth Lily Life Prize for lifetime achievement. In 1998 he was elected a fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He is also an acclaimed translator of classic poetry, currently at work on a translation of Virgil’s “Aeneid,” sections of which have appeared in Poetry and other journals. He has been honored for his translations of “Gilgamesh,” “The Odes of Horace” and “The Eclogues and Georgics of Virgil.”

In an interview with poet Katie Peterson for the National Book Award Foundation, Ferry was asked how the work of poet and translator were similar.

“They’re alike in that the poet writing an ‘original’ poem is working in exactly the same way that the poet translating somebody else’s poem is working,” he said, “Writing lines, keeping the measure, making decisions about line-endings, listening to the developing tones of voice in not ‘other people’s words’ but his own words, his own words trying, to be sure, for as much faithfulness as possible to what he has heard and, he hopes, understood, in the lines he is translating.”

Learn more about and annual Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Reading, and read lists of past readers, at its website. Books will be available for purchase at the reading and refreshments will be provided.