STRANGEST OF THEATRES: POETS WRITING ACROSS BORDERS

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Strangest of Theatres:

The Strangest of Theatres explores how poets who are willing to venture beyond our borders can serve as envoys to the wider world and revitalize American poetry in the process. What are they looking for when they leave? What do they find? How does their experience shape them, and what is revealed when they sit down at their desks and take up the pen?

Original and reprinted essays by contemporary poets who have spent time abroad address questions of estrangement, identity, and home. These reflections represent a diverse atlas of experience and include work by Kazim Ali, Elizabeth Bishop, Naomi Shihab Nye, Nick Flynn, Yusef Komunyakaa, Claudia Rankine, Charles Simic, Alissa Valles, and many others.

Following these literary reflections is a roundtable conversation among fourteen poets as well as two appendices that provide practical resources for finding work abroad, applying for fellowships and residencies, funding a trip, obtaining proper travel documents, and attending to other cultural considerations. This inspiring, useful book addresses concerns relevant to any American writer preparing to go abroad, already traveling, just returning, or simply dreaming of the faraway.

Praise for The Strangest of Theatres:

The Strangest of Theatres is an invaluable resource for poets blessed with a spirit of adventure. These reflections, insights, and tips will orient wanderers of every stripe, from those contemplating their first trip abroad to hardened travelers, instructing one and all in the pleasures and meaning of crossing borders. Your passport, please. The plane is boarding.”
—Christopher Merrill, The University of Iowa

“This travelogue collection possesses all the giddiness and universal appeal of an imminent adventure.”
Publisher’s Weekly

The Strangest of Theatres puts the lie to the image of the isolated poet, alone in a room like Emily Dickinson, giving us instead Elizabeth Bishop, Yusef Komunyakaa, Naomi Shihad Nye– poets whose work spans different cultures and atmospheres… a clear expression of poetry as an active force.”
LA Times

“a lovely meditation on dislocation.”
The Chicago Tribune