Mark Strand (1934-2014) was born on Canada’s Prince Edward Island and raised in the United States. He was the author of more than 10 collections of poetry, for which he was awarded the prestigious Bollingen and Pulitzer Prizes, among other honors. Strand also translated the works of Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade, edited poetry anthologies and collections of art criticism, and wrote three books for children. In 1990, he was named United States Poet Laureate.
This recording combines two readings given by Strand at the 2010 Key West Literary Seminar. In the first, from Friday January 8, Strand reads a selection of poems spanning his career, including the early works “Sleeping with One Eye Open,” “The Mailman,” and “The Tunnel.” Later works include “I Had Been a Polar Explorer,” “Elevator,” “Man and Camel,” “Some Last Words,” and two passages from the 1993 book-length poem “Dark Harbor” (“If dawn breaks the heart…” and “It is true, as someone has said…”). The first reading concludes with recent poems including “Fire,” “Old Man Leaves Party,” and “Black Sea.” In the second reading, from Sunday January 10 (beginning at 20:35), Strand reads “Keeping Things Whole,” two passages from “Five Dogs,” “Two Horses,” “Black Fly,” “The Disquieting Muses,” “Mirror,” and “A Piece of the Storm.” Strand’s remarks in between poems provide context and explain references to cultural figures including the writers Franz Kafka and Wallace Stevens, and the painter Giorgio De Chirico.
From KWLS 2010: Clearing the Sill of the World