Wednesday, October 7 at 1:00 pm

Online Poetry: Medicine for the Soul featuring Steve Ratner

The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives invites you to Online Poetry: Medicine for the Soul featuring poet Steve Ratner on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. This event will be hosted virtually through The Stockbridge Library Zoom account.


As a poet and educator, Steven Ratiner’s long-standing commitment has been to expand the ways audiences experience poetry and the arts. He is the founding director of 2000 bridges, an artists’ collaborative which created “Big Night in the Book House,” the multi-disciplinary millennium celebration offered as part of First Night Boston 2000.  The two-day event transformed the Boston Public Library into the ‘People’s Palace of the Word’ with a program of performances, readings, installations, light sculptures, and participatory events focusing on the confluence of languages through which artists speak their visions into being: poetry, dance, music, videography, and visual art. As the literary coordinator of the, all souls project, he created a series of free writing workshops and readings in response to the 9/11 tragedy, in partnership with the Boston Public Library and PEN-New England. He has worked with a variety of artists on multi-disciplinary projects, including poetry/dance pieces with White Wave, the Young Soon Kim Dance Company of New York City; Boston’s Dance Collective; and the Ballet Dance Theater of Boston.  He has also created multi-media performances with jazz artist Stan Strickland and poetry/sculpture installations with Marty Cain.  In 2019, he was appointed as the Poet Laureate for Arlington, Massachusetts.  Responding to the COVID crisis and broad social unrest, his red letter poems project sends a weekly poem from diverse Massachusetts poets out to tens of thousands of readers.

Ratiner is the author of three poetry chapbooks, most recently Button, Button, a collaboration with artist Marty Cain. His work has appeared in dozens of journals in America and abroad including Parnassus, Agni, Blackbird, Hanging Loose, Poet Lore, Salamander, QRLS (Singapore), HaMusach (Israel), and Poetry Australia. He’s written poetry criticism for The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and The San Francisco Chronicle.  Giving Their Word – Conversations with Contemporary Poets was re-issued in a paperback edition (University of Massachusetts Press) and features interviews with many of poetry’s most vital talents including Seamus Heaney, Mary Oliver, Charles Simic, Bei Dao, Maxine Kumin, and the last full-length interview with Bill Stafford before his death.

Since 1980, he has taught over 300 intensive poetry residencies in schools throughout New England as part of the Massachusetts Artists-in-Residence Program.  He has recently become the on-air poet-in-residence for Words That Cook, a nationally-syndicated public access program, created by The Reading Railroad, which focuses on children’s literacy.  For several years, he was on the adjunct faculty of Wheelock and Lesley College’s Graduate Program and has given lectures on poetry and workshop techniques in many schools around New England including Boston University, Tufts University, Lesley University, Boston College and Long Island University — and for such organizations as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Programs, The New England Schools Development Council and the New England Library Association.

One of his special focuses is the poetry and cultural heritage of East Asia and he has taught numerous workshops for Primary Source’s China seminars and Bryant University’s U.S.-China Institute.  In the textbook, The Enduring Legacy of Ancient China: Primary Source Lessons for Teachers and Students (Cheng & Tsui), Mr. Ratiner authored the chapter on Chinese poetry. He was awarded one of the inaugural fellowships from The  Massachusetts Cultural Council to encourage artists to develop new curricula.  A Poet’s Retreat, the program he created, explores the parallel experiences of poets in ancient Chinese and contemporary American cultures.

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