“I want you to know the worst and be free from it. I want you to know the worst and still find good. I suspect I am here less for your protection than you are here for mine, as if you were sent to call me back into our helpless tribe.”
This is an excerpt taken from John Balaban’s 1991 poem “Words for My Daughter.”
Edinboro University welcomes this 2-time National Book Award nominee and Academy of American Poets Award winner to campus Oct. 10, for a poetry reading and meet-and-greet with Edinboro students.
“This caliber of poet provides inspiration to our students who are the future poets and writers of this generation, while also giving the entire campus community a means to engage with some of the most pressing questions of our time,” said Dr. Mary Paniccia Carden, chairperson of Edinboro’s Department of English and Philosophy.
Balaban is the author of 13 books of poetry and prose, including “After Our War,” which won the Lamont selection of the Academy of American Poets, and “Locusts at the Edge of Summer,” which won the Poetry Society of America’s prestigious William Carlos Williams prize for poetry in 1998. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and has served as a judge for the National Book Awards.
His new book of poetry, “Empires,” published by Copper Canyon Press, focuses on the tremors in history as imperial eras come to their ends – those interludes when the understood order of things has changed. In poems that span different eras and cultures, Balaban contemplates the complex relationship of beauty and ugliness in both the United States and abroad, carefully balancing destruction with healing landscapes.
“In a way that few poets do, John Balaban truly roams the globe – and the centuries,” said Adam Hochschild, writer for the New York Review of Books. “He has his eye on empires, yes, but also on moments when different slices of history collide. His capacious poems enlarge our eyes on the world.”
Balaban has read widely in the U.S. and abroad, most recently at University College, Dublin, and at Oxford and Cambridge universities.
In addition to writing poetry, fiction and nonfiction, Balaban is a translator of Vietnamese poetry and a past president of the American Literary Translators Association. He is a founder and director of the Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation and professor emeritus of English at North Carolina State University.
His reading and talk will take place in the Reeder Lecture Hall at 7 p.m., as part of the Department of English and Philosophy’s Fall Poetry Series.
For more information about English and Philosophy at Edinboro University, visit www.edinboro.edu/English.