Poetry in the library and the meetings of the "Unamuno Author Series"

Poetry is the maximum expression of the value of the word as a literary genre and as a library that works with the printed word we like to be linked to it. For some years it has been an important part of the cultural programming of the library and, by extension, of the Institute. In addition to the poetry recitals that have taken place over time, for two years we have held a monthly reading club in English on American poetry at the library, which was born as an appendix to the English Reading Circle on Short Stories and grew as part of the programming of the American Space Madrid.

Also since 2015, periodic meetings with contemporary American poets have been held at the Institute under the name of “Unamuno Author Series”. The relationship between Poetry Reading Circle and these meetings became closer to the point of converging into a single activity, uniting the visits of the poets with the poetry reading club under the exquisite coordination of Professor Chiara Luis. From this month of January and still as part of the ASM program, the meetings with the American poets of the “Unamuno Author Series” take over alone and keep poetry alive in the library.

This interesting poetic project begins to take place at the Institute thanks to the initiative of Spencer Reece, a renowned American poet who resides in Spain as secretary to the bishop of the Anglican cathedral in Madrid. The choice of group nameUnamuno Author Series” is a recognition of the friendly ties that Miguel de Unamuno maintained with Protestantism.

In this collaboration, both parties share an interest in uniting cultures and languages ​​through the dissemination of North American poetry outside the United States. Our intention is to try to count on the presence of as many poets as possible, taking advantage of their visit to Madrid.

The first meeting took place in 2015 with Gregory Pardlo, recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, with a large audience. This was followed last year by other respected American poets such as Mark Wunderlich, Mark Doty, Marilyn Hacker, Mark Conway or Carl Adamshick in a poetry recital-talk format. Twenty poets will visit Spain this year as part of the series: we have already had the opportunity to have the presence of Rubén Quesada, Naomi Mulvihill and John Koethe and we hope to continue with others such as Luis Rodríguez, Alfred Corn , Ralph Hamilton, Henri Cole, Jennifer Grotz, Michael White or Rick Barot. In the meetings held since January we have tried to maintain part of the spirit of the poetry club colloquiums, giving the poet time to tell us about his way of understanding and arriving at poetry and focusing attention on no more than one or two poems that discussed and discussed informally as a group. The audience at our meetings is made up mainly of Spaniards interested in American language and literature who want to get closer to poetry with the incentive of knowing the author... the result for both parties is always enriching and often pleasantly surprising.

We hope to continue collaborating in this project that we see growing and to which we wish a long life if possible in our company.