Wednesday, March 13th, 2019, 5:30 p.m.
Join the Poetry Society of New Hampshire as classical guitarist John Tavano joins Rhina Espaillat and Alfred Nicol in performing a melopoeia, which is poetry read to the accompaniment of music. It’s an intimate art-form that Rhina first heard in her grandmother’s home in the Dominican Republic. She, John and Alfred have done many performances of melopoeia, and have have even recorded two CDs (check out their work here). An open mic accompanied by John's improvisation follows their performance.
"Melopoeia is an ancient art whose Greek name — a combination of “melos” and “poitria”— suggests its nature: a performance involving poetry read to musical accompaniment. The poetry is spoken, not sung in the form of song lyrics, so that the two arts flow separately, through and around each other, without either becoming dominant over the other, without either becoming dominant over the other."
Rhina P. Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. After Espaillat’s great-uncle opposed the regime, her family was exiled to the United States and settled in New York City. She began writing poetry as a young girl—in Spanish and then English—and has published in both languages.
Espaillat has published 11 poetry collections, including Lapsing to Grace (1992); Where Horizons Go (1998), winner of the 1998 T.S. Eliot Prize; Rehearsing Absence (2001), recipient of the 2001 Richard Wilbur Award; Playing at Stillness (2005); and a bilingual chapbook titled Mundo y Palabra/The World and the Word (2001). Espaillat’s work has garnered many awards, including the Sparrow Sonnet Prize, three Poetry Society of America prizes, the Der-Hovanessian Translation Prize, and—for her Spanish translations of Robert Frost—the Robert Frost Foundation’s Tree at My Window Award. She is a two-time winner of The Formalist’s Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and the recipient of a 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award from Salem State College. She is a founding member of the Fresh Meadows Poets and a founding member and former director of the Powow River Poets. For over a decade, she coordinated the Newburyport Art Association’s Annual Poetry Contest.
Alfred Nicol’s most recent collection of poetry, Animal Psalms, was published in 2016 by Able Muse Press. He has published two other collections, Elegy for Everyone (2009), and Winter Light, which received the 2004 Richard Wilbur Award. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The New England Review, Dark Horse, First Things, Commonweal, The Formalist, The Hopkins Review, Measure and many other literary journals and anthologies. Nicol’s poem “Addendum” was included in the 2018 edition of The Best American Poetry. Please visit his website at alfrednicol.com
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