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First Tuesdays Presents Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.

Photo Credit: Susan JohannPhoto Credit: Susan Johann

When: October 4, 2022
Where: Espresso 77 Café, 35-57 77th Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11372.
Time: 7:30 — 9:00 PM (open-mic sign up at 7:00)
Cost: $5 minimum purchase at the food counter.
More Information: Richard Jeffrey Newman

Elizabeth T. Gay Jr. is a poet, critic, translator, and corporate consultant. Her long poem, Salient, was published by New Directions in 2020, and her poetic sequence Series | India was published by Four Way Books in 2015. Translated work includes selected poems of modern Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad, Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season (New Directions, 2022) and, from classical Persian, Wine & Prayer: Eighty Ghazals of Hafíz of Shiraz (White Cloud Press, 2019). Sections of the Tibeto-Mongolian folk epic The Life of King Kesar of Ling,” co-translated with Dr. Siddiq Wahid, appeared in Sources of Tibetan Tradition (Columbia, 2013). Other work has appeared in The Paris Review, Little Star, Caesura, Hyperallergic, Talisman, Paris Lit Up, Poetry International, Modern Poetry in Translation (UK), Ploughshares, AGNI, The New England Review, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. She has served as Guest Editor for Epiphany and The New Haven Review. She serves on the Boards of Kimbilio Fiction, The Beloit Poetry Journal Foundation, Friends of Writers, and Human Rights and Democracy in Iran, based in Washington, D.C. From 2009-2015 she served as Chair of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, in New Haven, CT. She was the founding CEO and Managing Partner of Conflict Management, Inc. and Alliance Management Partners, LLC, international consulting firms specializing in the management of complex negotiations and the formation of inter-corporate strategic alliances. She continues to consult to corporations, non-profit organizations, and governments in collaboration with colleagues at Wharton Business School and elsewhere. She holds a B.A. and J. D. from Harvard University, studied at the University of Isfahan and the Imperial Academy of Philosophy in Iran, and received her M. F. A. from Warren Wilson College in 2009. She lives in New York City.

Here’s a sample poem from Salt:

from FRAMELESS STEREOTACTIC CRANIOTOMY WITH TUMOR RESECTION

After the operation her mind
became an uninhabited coast.

When we found her she offered
us bone fragment and sea-

weathered wood, asking
what they meant.

What looked like someone with her
was a tall stone that leaned in

as if suddenly understood.
“It was all shatter

and thoroughfare,” she said
and pointed to the wind.

***

After the operation
I could see,” she said,
“those failures struggling

in the high-sided half-
filled pail to breathe
each thing

trying to
climb over the
others for air.”

***

The weather radar showed bands
of advancing snow and she wept.

White to muffle but not cold
was what I wanted,” she said,

as black garbage bags calved
from the glacier face of her ornate and

intransigent grief onto
the sidewalks and moved out to sea.

***

After the operation there were gaps
into which things fell

but these were richly appointed
and rode a turquoise horse.

Each opened out onto a riverbed of gravels
and braided silt-filled waters

that could be followed
back up into the Annapurnas.


This event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

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