Ver Poets bring an evening of American poetry to St Albans

Robert Peake

Robert Peake - Credit: Archant

With the US presidential election very much in the headlines, an evening of American Poetry, Then and Now is being held in St Albans next Friday, November 18.

R A Villanueva

R A Villanueva - Credit: Archant

Ver Poets have organised the event which offers the chance for people to bring their own favourite short American poem to read at St Michael’s Parish Centre from 8pm as well as meet two up-and-coming American authors based in Britain.

They are transatlantic poet Robert Peake who grew up on the US-Mexico border in the small desert farming town of El Centro, California, and R A Villanueva, the author of Reliquaria, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and the Ninth Letter Literary Award.

Robert, a tutor for the UK Poetry Society, studied verse at the University of California, Berkeley, where he first met Seamus Heaney and has created the Transatlantic Poetry series, bringing poets together for live online readings and conversations.

His film-poems have been widely screened in the US and Europe and his collection, The Knowledge, is published by Nine Arches.

R A Villanueva’s honours include a commendation from the 2016 Forward Prizes and fellowships from Kundiman and the Asian American Literary Review.

He stresses the importance of poets like Maya Angelou and José Garcia Villa from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. He lives in Brooklyn and London.

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Simon Bowden of Ver Poets said: “American poetry is a fascinating field and it has hugely enriched English verse. At the end of the evening we will have questions to the poets on how the two approaches differ – and what we can learn from each other.

“We aim to show a couple of film poems on our screen upstairs at St Michael’s.”

Admission is £5 including refreshments.