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Poetry in the age of coronavirus, with NYS Poet Alicia Ostriker

NYS Poet Alicia Ostriker talks with NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl about poetry in the age of coronavirus and her own quarantine routine.

She also discusses two new projects she has undertaken that celebrate important New York poets: reviving interest in the poetry of Edna St. Millay, one of her favorites, and translating the Emma Lazarus sonnet, "The New Colossus," that is inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty. Forty translators have translated the Lazarus verse into 40 languages and included personal essays on the dignity and value of immigrants as a reminder that American is a country that was built by immigrants.

In August 2018, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Alicia Ostriker was selected New York's 11th State Poet and Colson Whitehead as New York's 12th State AuthorAn installation ceremony held at the University at Albany in September 2018, a kickoff event for the NYS Writers Institute's Albany Book Festival.

From left, UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez; NYS Writers Institute Founder and Executive Director William Kennedy; New York State Author Colson Whitehead; New York State Poet Alicia Ostriker; Carl McCall, chairman of the Board of Trustees of The State University of New York; NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl, at the installation ceremony held at the UAlbany Campus Center on Friday, September 28, 2018. (photo by Patrick Dodson)


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