Live from Prairie Lights | Nam Le & Daniel Khalastchi
Writers' Workshop alumni Nam Le and Daniel Khalastchi will read from their new books of poetry. Nam Le will read from 36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem. "With a cool outsider’s eye, Nam Le takes the English language to pieces and reassembles it with a virtuoso ease not seen since Finnegans Wake. There is wit aplenty, of a dancing, ironic kind, but the fury and the bitterness that underlie 36 Ways come without disguise, as do its moments of aching love and loss. Nam Le is a poet working at the height of his powers. Each of the poems comes with its own explosive charge; taken together, they are capable of shaking Western self-regard to its foundations." —J.M. Coetzee
Nam Le’s poetry has been published in Poetry, The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Granta, Bomb, Conjunctions, Boston Review, The Monthly and other places. He has received major awards in America, Europe and Australia, including the PEN/Malamud Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award and the Melbourne Prize for Literature. His short story collection The Boat has been republished as a modern classic, and is widely translated, anthologized, and taught. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
Daniel Khalastchi will read from The Story of Your Obstinate Survival. “Like a new angel of history, The Story of Your Obstinate Survival arrives with its wings heavy with live fish and doorknobs, shovels and bone cake, faith and desire. Khalastchi has turned the poem into a long, beautiful wail, soft and brilliant enough for even Babel and Kafka and Singer to hear. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out Khalastchi feeds each poem by hand, and brushes nightly their wings. With as much abandon as with hope, these poems sway on the edge of a miracle.”—Sabrina Orah Mark
Daniel Khalastchi is an Iraqi Jewish American, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and a former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He is the author of three previous books of poetry—Manoleria, Tradition, and American Parables—and lives in Iowa City, where he directs the University of Iowa's Magid Center for Writing.