At this event, Open Books Poet-in-Residence Lena Khalaf Tuffaha will lead us in discussing the work and recent SAL performance of renown poet Gregory Orr.
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha is a poet, writer, and translator. She is the winner of the 2016 Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize for Arab in Newsland, and the author of Water & Salt, a book of poems from Red Hen Press published in April 2017.
Gregory Orr, the author of more than ten collections of poetry and several volumes of essays, criticism, and memoir, is a master of brevity and the personal lyric. Critic Hank Lazer observes: “From Burning the Empty Nests to the present, Orr gradually developed the ability to fuse his incredible skill at visual precision—the signature of his image-based work in his very first book—with an insistent musical quality, joining visual precision with a beauty of sound.”
As a twelve-year-old boy, Orr accidentally killed his brother in a hunting incident, an event his family was never able to talk about. His mother died soon thereafter, and Orr found the transformative power of language through poetry. His later near-death experience as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the civil rights movement, in which he was jailed and severely beaten, contributed to the urgency with which his poems sought transformation.