Poetry Reading: Peter O'Leary and Steven Toussaint
Peter O'Leary and Steven Toussaint read from their latest collections of poetry.
Presented in partnership with the Committee on Creative Writing
At the Co-op
About The Sampo: Poetry. Drawing episodes from the Kalevala, a Finnish epic, Peter O'Leary has created a poem of atmospheric intensity, full of elemental forces harnessed by supernatural craft. Line by line, it is composed of images and epithets that flicker into animation, condensed phrases that cascade into sequences of unfolding action. Throughout the quest, The Sampo returns us to the hazards of making, the power of singing, and the adventure of poetry.
About Peter O'Leary: Peter O'Leary has written five books of poetry, most recently The Sampo (Cultural Society). A new book of criticism, Thick and Dazzling Darkness: Religious Poetry in a Secular Age, is forthcoming from Columbia. With John Tipton, he edits Verge Books. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at the University of Chicago. He lives in Oak Park.
About The Bellfounder: Poetry. Reverent, reverberant, The Bellfounder is both augury and echo, uniting the medieval and the modern in a theological soundscape shaped by Dante's Divine Comedy, the films of Tarkovsky, and the music of Arvo Pärt. These poems, lyric intercessions to an absconded God, herald a remarkable new voice in American poetry.
About Steven Toussaint: Steven Toussaint is the author of the poetry collection The Bellfounder, published by The Cultural Society in 2015, and the chapbook Fiddlehead, published in 2014 by Compound Press. Steven was born and raised in Chicago, but has lived for the past five years in New Zealand with his wife, the novelist Eleanor Catton. Together they founded The Lancewood Foundation and administer the Horoeka/Lancewood Reading Grant, which provides young New Zealand writers with the means and opportunity to embark on substantial and immersive reading projects, irrespective of what they produce in the end. This year, Steven is serving as Writer-in-Residence at The University of Waikato.
About the co-sponsor: Students at Chicago pursue creative writing within the larger context of academic study. While the purpose of the program is, above all, to give students a rigorous background in the fundamentals of creative work by providing them with the opportunity to study with established poets and prose writers, it differs from the professional, free-standing creative writing programs at other universities in seeing itself as an integral part of the university’s intellectual life, and most particularly in providing opportunities for interdisciplinary work.