Sunday November 5th 2017, 6:00 PM- 7:30 PM

Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60642


Please join the Guild LIterary Complex in a conversation with authors and poets Stuart Cooke, Natania Rosenfeld, and Toni Nealie as we journey into conversation about transnational poetics at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60642 in the downstairs salon theatre.  Readings and a larger conversation about poetry and writing across the cultural miles of distant seas will set the tone for the night’s conversations.  Books will be on sale that night, so come with cash to get your copies signed by these three tremendous writers.


STUART COOKE is an Australian poet, critic and translator, with his books ranging from the poetry collections Opera (2016) and Edge Music (2011), to a critical work, Speaking the Earth’s Languages: a theory for Australian-Chilean postcolonial poetics (2013), and a translation of an Aboriginal (Nyigina) song cycle, George Dyuŋgayan’s Bulu Line (2014). He has also published translations of many Latin American poets, and his translation of Gianni Siccardi’s The Blackbird is forthcoming. Stuart’s awards include the 2016 Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize and the 2012 Dorothy Porter Poetry Prize. He lives on the Gold Coast, Australia, where he lectures in creative writing and literary studies at Griffith University.

Opera is the imagination of a trans-Pacific synthesis, a fusion of geography and history, of language and love, of animal, human and inorganic potency. These poems sing from opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean in order to weave a new territory that recovers what was once, long ago, intimately connected.

As said of Opera by Peter Boyle, “Original, arresting, fresh in both language and approach, Opera uses all the dimensions of poetry to evoke the immediacy of place. Geologies, floras, faunas and human cognition are entwined into local singularities, which Cooke privileges as the shaping force of a new poetry.”

TONI NEALIE is the author of The Miles Between Me, an essay collection about homeland, dispersal, heritage and family, published by Curbside Splendor. Recent essays have appeared in GuernicaThe Prague Review, The Offing and The Rumpus. Her essay “The Displeasure of the Table” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Originally from New Zealand, she holds an MFA from Columbia College Chicago. She teaches and writes in Chicago, where she is Literary Editor of Newcity.

In her debut essay collection, The Miles Between MeNew Zealand native Toni Nealie examines journeys, homelands, family, and motherhood. She details humiliating confrontations with airport security, muses on the color brown, and intimately investigates her grandfather’s complicated and criminal past, all while hearkening home—wherever and whatever that is.

“Nealie is both profound and poetic; a brilliant thinker. Reflecting on her own experience stepping from one country to another, one life to another, she writes: “Books can’t really tell you how to chart your emotional terrain, how to circumnavigate the currents of loss and longing.” For me, The Miles Between Me did just that. It challenges us to examine our very own heart.” —Megan Stielstra, author of Once I Was Cool

NATANIA ROSENFELD grew up in Oberlin, Ohio and spent periods of time in Germany and Israel.  Her poems, essays, and fiction have appeared in many journals including The American Poetry ReviewRaritan,Southwest Review and The Fairy Tale Review.  She is the author of Outsiders Together: Virginia and Leonard Woolf (Princeton University Press, 2000), and lives in Chicago and Galesburg, Illinois where she is a Professor of English at Knox College.

On Wild Domestic: such contraries, deftly held in balance, lie at the heart of Natania Rosenfeld’s debut collection in which poems are energized as much by the poet’s life-affirming, lush, appetitive drives as they are reined in by her sober-eyed vision of caged birds of prey and flayed rabbits; I am thinking in particular of the remarkable sequence inspired by Soutine: “The torso stretched / like pulled meat, / a skull, vacant bloody / mouth at the point / of the genitals.” Rosenfeld knows how to write to the tight, serrated measures of duress—war-ravaged Europe haunts her imagination—but in the end it is the robust, androgynous body and its runaway anima that gain the high ground: “In her teeth/now a rose, now a dagger, / she slashes her world.” —Gabriel Levin


Founded in 1990, Chopin Theatre has grown into one of America’s most active arts centers, producing, co-producing or presenting over 500 theater, music, film, literary and social events each year. With 1,900+ events over its 26 year history, its mission is the promotion of enlightened civic discourse through a diverse range of artistic offerings. Chopin Theatre is privately held and operates without public funding.

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