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DISTINGUISHED POET-SCREENWRITER JAMES RAGAN AT ALBANY LIBRARY | April 12, 2011, 7pm

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Poetry at the Albany Library
featuring James Ragan
2nd Tuesdays | Featured Poet and Open Mic
7 to 9pm

Produced by Catherine Taylor for Alameda County Library, Albany CA
Best place to hear and read good poetry.
— East Bay Express

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Watch Distinguished Visiting Professor James Ragan address a University of Oklahoma audience with whom he shares poetry

Listen to James Ragan recite by heart “The Tent People of Beverly Hills”

James Ragan in conversation with Michael Krasny, host of KQED Forum

Courtesy photo

James Ragan

James Ragan’s expansive world view is evident in his many roles–poet, translator, playwright, screenwriter, teacher, and cultural ambassador. For 25 years he served as Director of the Professional Writing Program at USC.

Ragan has published seven books of poetry: In the Talking Hours, Womb-Weary, The Hunger Wall, Lusions, Shouldering the World, and, as co-editor, Yevgeny Yevtushenko: Collected Poetry 1952-1990. His most recent collection is Too Long A Solitude (University of Oklahoma Press, 2009). His poetry has been translated into ten languages.

James Ragan’s literary honors include three Fulbright professorships (Yugoslavia, China, and the Czech Republic), honorary doctorates from the American College of Greece and American International University in London, the Emerson Poetry Prize, a Poetry Society of America Gertrude Claytor Award, and the Swan Foundation Humanitarian Award.

Ragan’s first book, In the Talking Hours (2004), was initially banned in Czechoslovakia, the homeland of his parents and eldest siblings, and of Ragan’s first language–the melodic Slovak dialect whose influence, along with Ragan’s riveting delivery, contributes to the visceral pleasure of hearing his poems read aloud.

Since 1993, Ragan has returned each summer to his familial roots in the Czech Republic (initially through an invitation from Vaclav Havel) to teach as Distinguished Visiting Professor at Charles University in Prague. Ragan has read for numerous heads of state and the United Nations, and, through the U.S. World Affairs Council, has read and lectured in Tunisia, Jordan, China, India, and Tibet. With Robert Bly and Bob Dylan, Ragan was asked to perform at the First International Poetry Festival in Moscow, in 1985. Since that time he has read for audiences throughout Europe and Asia.

Ragan’s plays have been staged internationally, and he has both written and worked in production on films that include The Longest Yard, The Deer Hunter, and, in 2009, The Last Story of the Century (based on the siege of Sarajevo) and The Shoe. As a Distinguished Visiting Professor in Film (most recently at the University of Oklahoma and at Academia Internacional de Cinema, São Paulo), Ragan draws lessons for filmmaking from poetry’s crisp pace and its efficient delivery of image and metaphor.

Ragan’s poetry is praised as “distinctive . . . arresting” (Richard Wilbur); “fine-grained and witty [with] a remarkable range of history and geography, thematic variety and tonal dexterity”(C.K. Williams); and “lyrical and authoritative” (Josephine Miles). Pulitzer Prize winner Henry Taylor says, “James Ragan is a snake charmer whose words work real magic.” The Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko calls Ragan’s poems “a testament to universal brotherhood, a celebration.”

courtesy ora.edu

During a workshop visit to Oral Roberts University, James Ragan goes over a fine point with student Lisa Daniels.

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Albany Library 1247 Marin Avenue 510.526.3720

Partially funded by Friends of the Albany Library. Wheelchair accessible. ASL interpreter provided with 7 working days
notice (510-526-3720 or TTY 510-663-0660). Produced by Alameda County Library, Albany 4/11 www.aclibrary.org


Partially funded by Friends of the Albany Library. Wheelchair accessible. ASL interpreter provided with 7 working days
notice (510-526-3720 or TTY 510-663-0660). Produced by Alameda County Library, Albany 4/11 www.aclibrary.org
.

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