If you’re going to be anywhere near a computer tonight, you might want to check out the live stream over at the White House’s website. (Yes, that White House.)
If you do, you’ll see one of Penn’s faculty members — poet Kenneth Goldsmith — who’s been invited to read his work in front of the president, the first lady, and hundreds of others at “An Evening of Poetry.” President Obama’s remarks will begin at 7 p.m. EST, and afterward, poets, musicians, and artists will take the stage to read, sing, and highlight poetry’s impact on American culture. (In addition to Goldsmith, Elizabeth Alexander, Billy Collins, Common, Rita Dove, Alison Knowles, Aimee Mann and Jill Scott are also included in the lineup.)
Goldsmith teaches in the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (CPCW), including an “Uncreative Writing” workshop and this fall, a course titled “Writing Through Art and Literature: Language and Happiness in the Work of Stefan Sagmesiter.” He is also a senior editor of PennSound, an online poetry archive that the Gazette covered here.
Publisher’s Weekly has described Goldsmith’s work as “some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry,” and poet Juliana Spahr called him “the world’s leading conceptual poet.” He’s written 10 books of poetry, edited I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, and was also the subject of a 2007 documentary titled Sucking on Words. (You can stream the whole film online here.)
In addition to reading at the White House tonight, Goldsmith will participate in a poetry workshop for children led by First Lady Michelle Obama, starting (and also live-streaming) today at 2 p.m. EST.