Heather Hartley April 2021
Heather Hartley, author of Adult Swim and Knock Knock, both from Carnegie Mellon University Press graced us with her Zoom presence from Naples, Italy, where she has resided for the last four years, after living in Paris for many years. She was the long-time editor at the late Tin House magazine and her short fiction, poems, essays, and interviews have appeared in or on PBS Newshour, The Guardian, Slice, and other venues. She has presented writers at Shakespeare and Company Bookshop and has taught creative writing at the American University of Paris and the University of Texas El Paso MFA Online program.
I met Heather eons ago through Cecilia Woloch, who was the first poet to seduce me into the world of poetry. That was in the Fall of 1994 just after having moved to Paris. Before then, poetry was not at all on my radar. Defined as “Literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or a specific emotional response through language chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm,” I can honestly say that I was seriously clueless until then. What I discovered through poets like Heather and Cecilia, is that it’s so much more than that. It can be incredibly moving and profound, as well as enlightening. If you heard Amanda Gorman read her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, then you have discovered poetry, too, even if you don’t know it.
Those who joined us yesterday were seduced and enlightened like I was. With Heather’s rich and textured talk, we had a chance to celebrate National Poetry Month (US) and other commemorations highlighting poetry in and around Paris and France. Heather opened our eyes to the world of poetry—not only her own, but the work of other poets, too, with which we might not have been familiar, and others we were.
If you missed it, don’t despair! You can learn more about the event and watch the entire two-hour event by clicking this link.