Health & Well-Being

Poetry as the Conscience of Culture

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How does poetry influence our lives? The art form has always offered a safe harbor in times of cultural, social and personal crisis. In this webinar by USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, some of the world’s most accomplished poets discuss how they — and everyone — can draw inspiration and strength from poetry to lead a richer life.

Moderated by David Ulin, associate professor of the practice of English and former editor and book critic for the Los Angeles Times, the panel of participants includes: Robin Coste Lewis, USC Dornsife writer-in-residence and former poet laureate of Los Angeles; David St. John, professor of English and comparative literature and lauded poet; Douglas Kearney, multi-award-winning poet, performer and author.

Who Will Benefit

– Those hoping to discover how poetry can address loss and grief, especially in times of heightened crisis
– Writers who want to learn how contemporary poets are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic
– Those looking to deepen their connection with the poetry and its everyday influence on our lives

About Our Featured Faculty

David St. John has been honored, over the course of his career, with many of the most significant prizes for poets, including both the Rome Fellowship and the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the O.B. Hardison Prize for teaching and poetic achievement from the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the George Drury Smith Lifetime Achievement Award from Beyond Baroque. He is a University Professor and professor of English and comparative literature at USC Dornsife.

Robin Coste Lewis is the poet laureate of Los Angeles. In 2015, her debut poetry collection, Voyage of the Sable Venus, won the National Book Award in poetry. Lewis’ writing has appeared in various journals and anthologies, such as Time, New Yorker, New York Times, Paris Review, Transition and Best American Poetry. Lewis is currently at work on two new collections, To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness and Prosthetic. She has received fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and was named an “Art-of-Change” fellow by the Ford Foundation. She is writer-in-residence at USC Dornsife.

David Ulin is associate professor of the practice of English and USC Dornsife. He is the author or editor of a dozen books, including Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, shortlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award. The former book editor and book critic of the Los Angeles Times, he has written for The Atlantic Monthly, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Paris Review and The New York Times. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Black Mountain Institute and the Lannan Foundation. Most recently, he edited the Library of America’s Didion: The 1960s and 70s, the first in a three volume edition of the author’s collected works.