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Robert Lowell Memorial Poetry Readings

In the Spirit of Room 222

In the late 1950s, Robert Lowell led a workshop whose students included three younger writers: George Starbuck, Anne Sexton, and Sylvia Plath. This legendary group gathered in the same small, corner classroom where our creative writing workshops continue to meet. The Robert Lowell Memorial Lectures celebrate this legacy, and the thriving community of writers, teachers and students at Boston University, by bringing a distinguished poet to campus each semester to read alongside a recent graduate of the program.

The Robert Lowell Memorial Reading series is made possible due to the generous support of Nancy Livingston (COM ’69) and Fred Levin. Many thanks to Nancy and Fred for supporting the Lowell Memorial Reading Series since 2004.

Spring 2021 virtual reading:

Award-Winning Poet Peter Balakian with BU Alumna Susan Barba
The Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture Series

Thursday, February 18, 7:00pm

Click here to join us on Zoom!

Photo by Mark DiOrio

Peter Balakian is the author of seven books of poems, most recently Ozone Journal, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, as well as Ziggurat (2010) and June-tree: New and Selected Poems, 1974-2000 (2001). His newest book of poems, No Sign, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press this year.

Balakian’s prose includes The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response (2004) and his memoir, Black Dog of Fate. He is co-translator of Girgoris Balakian’s Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1918, (Knopf, 2009). He is also the author of a book on the American poet Theodore Roethke and the co-translator of the Armenian poet Siamanto’s Bloody News from My Friend. Between 1976-1996 he edited with Bruce Smith the poetry journal Graham House Review. His prose and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Salon, The Daily Beast, Tikkun, The Guardian, LA Times, Art in America, and others.

He is the recipient of many awards and prizes including the Presidential Medal and the Moves Khoranatsi Medal from the Republic of Armenia, The Spendlove Prize for Social Justice, Tolerance, and Diplomacy (recipients include President Carter), a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Emily Clark Balch Prize for poetry from the Virginia Quarterly Review. He has appeared widely on national television and radio (60 Minutes, ABC World News Tonight, PBS, Charlie Rose, Fresh Air, etc), and his work has appeared in a many languages including Armenian, Bulgarian, French, Dutch, Greek, German, Hebrew, Russian, and Turkish. He is a Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities, Professor of English, and Director of Creative Writing at Colgate University.

Photo by Sharona Jacobs

Susan Barba is the author of geode (2020), which was a finalist for the New England Book Awards, and Fair Sun (2017), which was awarded the Anahid Literary Prize from Columbia University. Her poems have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, Poetry, Raritan, and elsewhere, and her poetry has been translated into German, Armenian, and Romanian. She earned her doctorate in comparative literature from Harvard University, and she has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. She works as a senior editor for the New York Review Books.

Please click the photos below to view more information about our recent readings. Thank you for visiting!

Fall 2020: Natasha Trethewey and Megan Fernandes

Spring 2020: Naomi Shihab Nye and Katherine Hollander

Spring 2019: Mark Halliday and Heather Green

Fall 2018: Marilyn Chin and Tara Skurtu

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Spring 2018: Jane Hirshfield and Natasha Hakimi

Jane Hirshfield

Fall 2017: Mark Doty and Tomas Unger

Tom Sleigh

Spring 2017: Tom Sleigh and Laura Marris

Rita Dove

Fall 2016: Rita Dove and Duy Doan

CD Wright

Spring 2016: Tribute to C.D. Wright

Yusef Komunyakaa and Vanesha Pravin

Fall 2015: Yusef Komunyakaa and Vanesha Pravin

Robert Hass and Meg Tyler

Spring 2015: Robert Hass and Meg Tyler

Sharon Olds and Renee Emerson

Fall 2014: Sharon Olds and Renee Emerson

Paul Muldoon and Bekah Stout

Spring 2014: Paul Muldoon and Bekah Stout

John Ashbery and Sophie Grimes

Fall 2013: John Ashbery and Sophie Grimes

Spring 2013: Terrance Hayes and Ani Gjika

Spring 2013: Terrance Hayes and Ani Gjika


Fall 2012: C.K. Williams and Eleanor Goodman

Fall 2012: C.K. Williams and Eleanor Goodman

Spring 2012: Jorie Graham and Patrick Ryan Frank

Spring 2012: Jorie Graham and Patrick Ryan Frank

Fall 2011: Henri Cole and Sara Peters

Fall 2011: Henri Cole and Sara Peters

Spring 2011: Kay Ryan and Katherine Hollander

Spring 2011: Kay Ryan and Katherine Hollander


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