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caption: From the cover of Arthur Sze's The Glass Constellation 
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From the cover of Arthur Sze's The Glass Constellation
Credit: Courtesy of Copper Canyon Press

A visionary constellation of poetry, five decades in the making

In this installment of the Lyric World series, we spend an hour with poet Arthur Sze. His collection The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems is being published this month.


Green tips of tulips are rising out of the earth— you don’t flense a whale or fire at beer cans in an arroyo but catch the budding tips of pear branches and wonder what it’s like to live along a purling edge of spring. -From Black Center, Arthur Sze

Sze is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and was the first poet laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

"Known for his difficult, meticulous poems, Sze’s work has been described as the 'intersection of Taoist contemplation, Zen rock gardens and postmodern experimentation' by the critic John Tritica." -The Poetry Foundation

Curated by Seattle-based poet Shin Yu Pai, Lyric World: Conversations with Contemporary Poets is a rich exploration of the themes of modern poetry, and a kind of meditation. It takes us into how poems come to be, how they find, inspire and inform us, and how they provoke deeper conversations about the human experience.

"This book is an overwhelming feast, a treasure, and more than enough proof that Sze is a major poet." -NPR

Town Hall Seattle presented this event on December 7, 2020. Music for the program was provided by the composer Gao Ping.