Literary Arts | Poets in Pajamas

Jacqueline Osherow in a Shanghai Taxi

During this month of April, 2021, we return to Poets in Pajamas, an audio series celebrating National Poetry Month launched last year at the beginning of the pandemic. In this series, we ask Utah poets to read one of their own works, as well as a work by a poet they admire.

Raised in Philadelphia, educated at Harvard (BA, 1978) and Princeton (PhD, 1990) and currently a distinguished professor of English and creative writing at the University of Utah, Jacqueline Osherow is the author of several books of poetry, including Ultimatum from Paradise (Louisiana State University Press, 2014), Whitethorn (Louisiana State University Press, 2011), and Looking for Angels in New York (University of Georgia Press, 1988).

Of her 2019 collection, My Lookalike at the Krishna Temple, Lisa Bickmore wrote,”Her voice is lithe, capable of, in turn, demanding, entreating, singing, and turning as if on a dime to switch between any of these modes.”

Osherow has chosen to read a famous poem by Tang-dynasty poet Li Bai, seen here in  Arthur Sze’s translation:

The moonlight falls by my bed.

I wonder if there’s frost on the ground.

I raise my head to look at the moon,

then ease down, thinking of home.

It is a poem almost everyone in China knows. Osherow’s reasons for choosing the classic work become apparent in the reading of her own work, “Shanghai Taxi.”

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