John Donne (1572-1631)

John Donne (1572-1631)

Nearly four centuries after John Donne's death, his engaging and challenging poetry continues to inspire readers. Often conversational and intensely dramatic, his lyrics--including some of the greatest love poems ever written--daringly juxtapose erotic language with religious references.  His tone varies, merging exalted celebration, bawdy innuendo, and the so-called metaphysical wit for which he is well known.  Donne himself was a remarkable figure, involved in the tense political events of his day, going on political missions, fighting in a war, and delivering sermons to the king himself.

Donne and Contemporary Poetry (2013-2014) is a series of events exploring and celebrating connections between Donne and poetry being written today. At each event, distinguished contemporary poets will read their own work, commenting on their interactions with Donne. Poems by Donne will also be read by the poets or, at the New York Public Library event, by a professional actress. Some events will culminate in a brief panel discussion.

All readings are free and open to the public. For further details, see Events.  


New York Public Library
June 20, 2013

Timothy Donnelly, Phillis Levin, Helen Cespedes 

Women Poets at Barnard
November 21, 2013
Kimberly Johnson, Carl Phillips 

Poets Out Loud at Fordham
[February 13, 2014] postponed due to snow
Molly Peacock, Nigel Smith 

Helix, New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute
April 15, 2014


Donne and Contemporary Poetry events are coordinated with the 2014 meeting (February 20-22) of the John Donne Society in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the eminent poet and scholar Linda Gregerson will give the keynote address on Donne and Contemporary Poetry. The conference will conclude with a panel discussion on that subject, whose participants will include Heather Dubrow and Kimberly Johnson; additional panelists TBA. Organized by president of John Donne Society, Judith Anderson, Chancellor’s Professor at Indiana University.