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Unfolding Language: Hanif Abdurraqib + Brendan Constantine + Amy Gerstler

Hanif Abdurraqib, Brendan Constantine and Amy Gerstler
Reading and lecture
April 12, 2018

In collaboration with The Broad’s Jasper Johns: ‘Something Resembling Truth’ – an exhibition featuring six decades of work and more than 120 of Jasper Johns’ most iconic and significant works, ALOUD explored the centrality of writers to Johns’ creative practice by presenting two evenings of readings by contemporary authors, presenting texts from Johns’ literary muses, Samuel Beckett, Ted Berrigan, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Hart Crane, Frank O’Hara, and Herman Melville. This program, the second of the two evenings in Oculus Hall at The Broad,  Hanif Abdurraqib, Brendan Constantine, and Amy Gerstler read and respond to the work of a chosen writer, while also sharing from their own work.

Hanif Abdurraqib reads from and responds to Frank O’Hara

“I chose Frank O’Hara for his immense ability to hold a moment in his poems and freeze it for an eternity. He is a poet of enormous range, but he is at his best when adding a bluntness to memory. The ways he toys with our ideas of nostalgia and place and the specifics of those things draw me in.”

Brendan Constantine reads from and responds to Herman Melville

“I think digression has become one of the great principals in American art, the means by which we braid concepts and mediums and thus make our way by almost losing it. For me, Melville and Dickinson are the essential provocateurs of this practice.  Indeed Melville was my first permission-giver, allowing me to take huge risks in narrative. ‘Time does not pass: Words pass.’ —Jasper Johns.”

Amy Gerstler reads from and responds to Ted Berrigan

“Ted Berrigan was an emotional collagist who said, ‘One of my principal desires is to make my poems be like my life.’ Erudite and playful, eclectic and experimental, remarkably unassuming, musical and deeply human, his poems ride tides of grace, humor, wonder and gratitude, and manage to channel many bright, sad, tender sensibilities into one beautiful voice.”

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