Poetry month kicks off with Geoffrey Brock at Nightbird

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 122 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — April, recognized as National Poetry Month, is the time when publishers, libraries, poets and admirers alike join forces to acknowledge the beauty and cultural influence of poetry.
On Saturday (April 7), Nightbird Books held a poetry reading to kick off poetry month with selections from The Farrar Straus Giroux Book of Twentieth Century Italian Poetry. This bilingual anthology contains the works of 75 different poets, 140 different translators and has been immaculately edited by Geoffrey Brock.

Brock is an associate professor at the University of Arkansas, where he teaches in creative writing and translation in the English department. He received his doctorate in comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania and has since then been writing and translating poetry.

He has received much recognition for his work including the Pushcart Prize in 2010. Moving from writing into translation has been a logical transition for Brock, who spent time living in Florence and believes that “translating poetry is a part of being a poet.”

Leading up to his reading, he stated that editing these works have played a role in his own creative process. “Everything you read becomes a part of you in some way or another,” he said.
After setting down his glass of Italian red wine, Brock cradled the anthology in his hands and shared with the audience, “It’s an enormous relief that it exists now.” Chuckles rang through the back room of the store from the three dozen fans, all of whom were very aware that it has taken seven years to bring this vision to fruition. Poetry fans listened with wide eyes as Brock read poems in both English and Italian.

Selections were also read by John DuVal, who playfully joked, “Go to sleep now, here is a poem translated by myself” and Van Brock who read pieces translated by himself and Miller Williams.
During Poetry Month, partrons to Nightbird will receive a 10 percent discount at checkout if they can recite any poetry.