NEWYORK and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Peter Balakian will be the featured writer for the fall season at The National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s “9/11, Today and Tomorrow” series on Wednesday, October 13. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 6:30 p.m. He will also read at the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge on Monday, October 18 at 8 p.m.
Both events will feature Balakian reading from his new book of poems, Ziggurat, which has just been published by The University of Chicago Press.
In his first book of poems since his highlypraised June-tree: New and Selected Poems 1974-2000, Balakian continues to define himself as one of the most distinctive voices of his generation. Exploring history, self and imagination, as well as his ongoing concerns with catastrophe and trauma, many of his new poems wrestle with the aftermath of 9/11.
A poem from Ziggurat was featured on the PBS “Newshour’s” Art Beat as poem of the week on September 7, and Balakian was interviewed about his new book by NPR’s Scott Simon for “Weekend Edition” Saturday on September 11.
About Ziggurat, Carolyn Forché has written: “With characteristic originality, Balakian finds his echoing motif in the construction of the first great skyscraper, the Ziggurat at Ur, and this gives his epic poem, ‘Atrain/ Ziggurat/Elegy,’ a historical depth I have found nowhere else in American poetry in recent years. What Balakian has achieved here is a brilliant assimilation of the historical, philosophical, political, and psychological.”
Balakian is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor in Humanities and professor of English at Colgate University. He is the author of five books of poems including June-tree: New and Selected Poems 1974-2000, and three prose works, including The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, a New York Times best seller, and Black Dog of Fate, winner of the PEN/Albrand Prize for memoir. His work has been translated into a dozen languages.