To look behind the scenes of an event that you’ve come to look forward to, large or small, and find the efforts of one person holding it all together can be surprising. If, that is, it isn’t the new normal in this constrained age. Poetry Pairs at Guild Hall regularly brings top-flight readers here while adding a touch of the literary to that institution’s otherwise varied lineup. Thanks to Fran Castan.
The series has essentially been her baby since 2007 — “to the point of exhaustion and no money,” she said, only half-kidding, over the weekend from her house in Amagansett.
Exhausting, for instance, is the mere mention of airfare. But attention must be paid: For Sunday’s Poetry Pairs, Molly Peacock will have to be flown in from Toronto to read from her book “The Paper Garden.” Published in 2011 and out in paperback earlier this year, it tells the story of the British collage artist Mary Delany, who started her work in the 18th century at the age of 72 and went on to produce close to 1,000 botanical collages, more or less inventing an art form. Today they’re on display at the British Museum.
“Molly writes from the perspective of a poet about an artist from a different medium,” said Ms. Castan, a poet in her own right who will introduce the writers to provide some background. Ms. Peacock will give a PowerPoint presentation of images, and she will read poems, too — from her collections “Cornucopia” and the more recent “The Second Blush.” Her work has been published in The New Yorker and The Paris Review.
And — hold the airfare — she’ll be joined by Grace Schulman of Springs and New York, who has a new book of poems, “Without a Claim,” due out next year from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Ms. Schulman, distinguished professor of English at Baruch College, was a poetry editor at The Nation for more than 30 years and formerly ran the 92nd Street Y series in Manhattan, which, Ms. Castan pointed out, for a long time was the only game in town, readings-wise.
Entry to Sunday’s reading costs $5, $3 for Guild Hall members, and comes with refreshments afterward and a chance to meet the poets and have books signed. Poetry Pairs starts at 3 p.m. and has been funded by Daniel and Joanna S. Rose and the nonprofit organization Poets & Writers.