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Two of the world’s greatest living poets come together for a rare Los Angeles reading and conversation. The work of Robert Hass, former U.S. Poet Laureate and long-time translator of Nobel Laureate Czesław Miłosz, speaks to us of love and loss, of the hopefulness and the limitations of intimacy, of our humanness laid bare in the midst of art, the natural world, and each other. His most recent essay collection, A Little Book on Form, illuminates the impulses that underlie great poetry. Adam Zagajewski, whose outlook was formed in the aftermath of the Second World War and the occupation of Poland, negotiates the earthbound and the ethereal in poems that can be as arresting as they are luminous, as witty as they are serious. His recent memoir, Slight Exaggeration, is a wry and philosophical defense of mystery. During a time when our world feels deeply damaged and charged with uncivil discourse, these two masters of language will explore poetry’s enduring inclination to marvel, with novelist Andrew Winer serving as interlocutor.

Robert Hass

Widely read and much honored, Bob Hass has brought the kind of energy in his poetry to his work as an essayist, translator, and activist on behalf of poetry, literacy, and the environment. Most notably, in his tenure as United States Poet Laureate, Robert Hass spent two years battling American illiteracy, armed with the mantra, “imagination makes communities.”Awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, twice the National Book Critics’ Circle Award (in 1984 and 1997), the Yale Series of Younger Poets in 1973, and the 2014 Wallace Stevens Award, Robert Hass is a professor of English at UC Berkeley.


Adam Zagajewski

Poet, novelist, essayist Adam Zagajewski was born in Lwów (then in Poland, now Ukraine) in 1945. As an infant he was relocated with his family to western Poland. A major figure of the Polish New Wave literary movement of the early 1970s and of the anti-Communist Solidarity movement of the 1980s, Zagajewski is today one of the most well-known and highly regarded contemporary Polish poets in Europe and the United States The New Yorker published his poem, “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” on its back page immediately after September 11, 2001. His previous books include Tremor, Canvas, Mysticism for Beginners, Without End, Solidarity, Solitude, Two Cities, Another Beauty, A Defense of Ardor, Eternal Enemies, and Unseen Hand. Translations of his works have been published all over the world and he is the recipient of many honors, most recently the Princess of Asturias Award for Literature. He splits his time between Krakow and Chicago, where he teaches.


Andrew Winer

Andrew Winer is the author of the novels The Marriage Artist and The Color Midnight Made. He also publishes philosophical and literary essays, conducts public conversations with fellow authors, and speaks about art, religion, and literature.  He is Chair of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside, and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction.  Presently, he is co-authoring a book on what Nietzsche has to say to the contemporary layperson, and completing a new novel about American religion and politics.


Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7 PM.

Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.

Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.

Main Image: Nepal, April 2015. Courtesy U.S. Department of State


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.


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