Poets Out Loud, the poetry community at Fordham, will feature Quan Barry and Keith O’Shaughnessy in the next installment of its popular reading series.
Wednesday, Nov. 30
Lincoln Center campus
113 West 60 Street (corner of Columbus Ave.)
The daughter of a Vietnamese woman and an African-American soldier, Quan Barry was born in Vietnam and raised by an adoptive family in the United States. Through her poetry, Barry chronicles her distinctive cultural background and writes about Vietnam generally. In addition to writing poetry, she teaches English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Keith O’Shaughnessy is a professor of English at Camden County College in New Jersey. Though a Princeton native, O’Shaughnessy writes extensively about travel and the experience of foreignness.
An excerpt from “child of the enemy”
By Quan Barry
It started when I was four.
Vacation. Door County, Wisconsin.
The alewives rippling on the rocks
like a flock of birds, the sudden knowledge
growing like a toll. Then
I couldn’t have articulated it, but I knew.
It wasn’t the beached fish that frightened me.
It was the ones that got away, far away
under the wreck of water. The ones that survived
by fleeing, kin left rotting on the shore.
By Keith O’Shaughnessy
The song that the old street singer sings sounds
like a song that has never been sung before,
or will be sung again, and yet has always
been playing, even before there were singers
or street songs, only the breeze. The waitress in the café,
overlooking the square, by the fountain,
has served whiskey all night, for so many nights,
it seems, and though she has never had one herself,
she pours a shot from the remains of the bottle
and sits down at a table as the boys put up the chairs
and sweep up the shells mixed in with the dust
at her feet. As the lamplight fades, she listens
to the song that the singer has been singing,
that she herself has been singing, without knowing
or hearing, but knows now, while the face of the Moon
lies on the surface of the water of the fountain
she will walk to later, when the café has closed,
when it murmurs like a song that has always been playing.
The POL Reading Series presents free public readings by distinguished and emerging poets. The year-round events serve the Fordham community and New York City, including two local high schools, Cristo Rey High School and the High School for Arts and Business.
For more information about Poets Out Loud, please click here.