Poet Kathleen Graber to speak Feb. 21

Art and life in The Eternal City

Great literature speaks to us across the years and miles.

In The Eternal City (2010), her second collection, poet Kathleen Graber speaks back, offering reflective yet surprisingly conversational responses to writers and artists both past and present. Marcus Aurelius, William Blake, Walter Benjamin, Immanuel Kant—all jostle at the table with the likes of Joseph Brodsky, Jim Jarmusch, Milan Kundera and Johnny Depp.

At 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, Graber will read from her work for The Writing Program in Arts & Sciences.

The free talk—presented as part of the program’s spring Reading Series—will take place in Duncker Hall’s Hurst Lounge, Room 201. A reception and book signing will immediately follow.

For more information, call (314) 935-7428.

The Eternal City

Nominated for the National Book Award, The Eternal City juggles philosophical contemplation and ekphrastic description with personal moments from daily life: lost keys, a nephew’s birth, her mother’s death, a threadbare kitchen boasting just one sharp knife.

At the center of the book is a suite of 12 interlocking poems inspired by quotations from Aurelius:

One man prays: How shall I be able to lie with this woman?
Do thou pray thus: How shall I not desire to lie with her?
Another prays thus: How shall I be released from this?
Another prays: How shall I not desire to be released?
— Marcus Aurelius

When we are lost in our longings, Aurelius, already it is too late: there is already nothing we can do. I have rarely desired an end to my desires. We are so in love with our wanting. Last week, though doctors were quick to repair it, a baby in India was born grasping her own beating heart in her fist…
—From “Book Nine” by Kathleen Graber

“Graber is a new poet that we should have always had but didn’t until just now,” writes Publishers Weekly. “Graber is the kind of poet who thinks out loud … like someone very smart and very well-read trying to get to the bottom of every troubling and exciting thought.”