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NYS Writers Institute, November 16, 2010
7:30 p.m. Reading | Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Ave., Downtown Albany
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus


Jean Valentine, current New York State Poet and National Book Award winner for “The Door in the Mountain” (2004), will read from her new poetry volume, “Break the Glass” (2010) at 7:30 p.m. [NOTE EARLY START TIME], Tuesday, November 16, 2010, in the Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Avenue in downtown Albany. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will present an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the UAlbany uptown campus. Cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and Friends of the Albany Public Library, the events are free and open to the public.

Jean Valentine, who serves currently as New York State Poet (2008-2010) under the aegis of the New York State Writers Institute, is the author of eleven books of poetry. Her 2004 collection, “Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems” (Wesleyan), received the National Book Award. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Franz Wright has said, “A poem by Jean Valentine is not a literary artifact to me but sustenance, warmth, and light.”

Valentine’s newest collection is “Break the Glass” (2010), which also features the poems contained in her 2009 chapbook, “Lucy,” an ode to humanity’s most famous Australopithecine ancestor. In a superlative “Booklist” review, Donna Seamon said, “Valentine’s poems are brilliantly concentrated and neatly faceted, forged in the heat and press of experience and rumination, like diamonds within the earth.” “Library Journal” called the collection, “a rare pleasure… as elliptical and demanding as Emily Dickinson,” and “Publishers Weekly” said, “[This is] the poet at her fierce best…. Each poem shares Valentine’s trademark concision and pared-down punch. Some of her severe observations can stop your breath.”

Valentine is known for poems of striking intensity that derive much of their structure and imagery from dreams. Writing in the “New York Times Book Review,” David Kalstone said, “Miss Valentine has a gift for tough strangeness, but also a dreamlike syntax and manner of arranging the lines of . . . short poems so as to draw us into the doubleness and fluency of feelings.”

Valentine’s first book, “Dream Barker, and Other Poems” (1965), was the recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. Valentine has also been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Maurice English Prize, and a Sara Teasdale Award. Most recently, Valentine received the 2006 Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her other poetry collections include “Little Boat” (2007), of which the “Publishers Weekly” reviewer said, “Her minimalist, elided style is like the quiet concentration of a bank robber trying to crack a safe”; “The Cradle of the Real Life” (2000); “Growing Darkness, Growing Light” (1997); “The Under Voice” (1995); “The River at Wolf” (1992); “Home. Deep. Blue” (1989); “The Messenger” (1979); “Ordinary Things” (1974); and “Pilgrims” (1969).

Valentine taught in the Department of Writing at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, for more than 30 years.

Cosponsored by the Friends of the Albany Public Library.

Previous Visit:
New York State Walt Whitman Citation of Merit State Poet Award Winner 2008-2010

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.