Reading with Leonard Schwartz and Zhang Er

Reading with Leonard Schwartz and Zhang Er

June 29, 2023 at 6pm – 8 pm



MinEastry of Postcollapse Art and Culture (MPAC) is pleased to announce an evening of poetry readings by the American poet, Leonard Schwartz, and the Chinese-American poet and librettist, Zhang Er.  This free public program is concurrent with MPAC’s inaugural Zürich exhibition, Play, of three contemporary artists, Ilknur Demirkoparan, Charles Edward Williams, and Keoni K. Wright.


Leonard Schwartz will be reading from his Actualities series, a three-book poem. For poet and novelist Forrest Gander: “Leonard Schwartz’s poems introduce philosophical meditation to emotional sensibility in a way that has become unusual in contemporary poetry. In his work, one feels the risk, even the vertigo, of the mind orienting itself to otherness, to world, and to language.” Zhang Er will be reading from First Mountain, in Chinese along with the English translation by Joseph Donahue. Late American poet Sam Hamill spoke of First Mountain, “Zhang Er brings us startling ‘burial ritual’ poems from Chinese that are striking in their perspective and elegant in style and presentation. They represent a poetic sensibility that is unique and often profound, and I read them with great surprise and gratitude.”

About the Poets: 

Leonard Schwartz is the author of numerous books of poetry, including, most recently, Actualities I: Transparent, to the Stone and Actualities II: Two Burned Hotels (2021, 2022, Goats & Compasses), Heavy Sublimation (Talisman House ) and Salamander: A Bestiary (Chax Press), with painter Simon Carr. His work in poetics The New Babel: Toward a Poetics of the Mid-East Crises (University of Arkansas Press), is inclusive of poetry, essays, and interviews. Other titles include If (Talisman House), and At Element, which explore the idea of an eco-poetics, as well as A Message Back and Other Furors (Chax Press) and The Library of Seven Readings (Ugly Duckling Presse). He also edited and co-translated Benjamin Fondane’s Cine-Poems and Other, with New York Review Books. For 15 years he produced and hosted the radio program Cross Cultural Poetics, now available on Pennsound at The University of Pennsylvania. He is a dual American and Austrian citizen.


Zhang Er, poet, translator, and opera librettist, born in Beijing, is the author of seven collections of poetry in Chinese, most recently Sea Volts and Bullets Twirl 《海跳起,子弹婉转》(2021).  Her selected poems appeared in three English translation collections from Zephyr Press, First Mountain, So Translating Rivers and Cities, and Verses on Bird. She co-edited and participated in the translation of Another Kind of Nation: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Talisman House Publishers), and The Art of Women in Contemporary China: Both Sides Now, (Cambridge Scholars Publisher). She also wrote opera libretti in English for American composers including Moon in the Mirror (with music by Stephen Dembski, premiered in 2015), Fiery Jade: Cai Yan (with music by Gregory Youtz, premiered in 2016), and Tacoma Method with music by Gregory Youtz was premiered in March 2023 by Tacoma Opera. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest of the US among trees.


This event is free and open to public. Please RSVP by clicking here

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