Georgia’s top poets read from Shakespeare at Emory and the room melts

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Georgia’s top poets read from Shakespeare at Emory and the room melts

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Branden Camp
Poet Kevin Young reads poetry during the final week of the First Folio event at The Carlos Museum at Emory University, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Atlanta. The Folio is the only surviving original copy of all of Shakespeare?s plays, compiled by a couple of his friends right after his death. Branden Camp/Special

On the occasion of the final week of Shakespeare’s “First Folio” exhibit at Emory University’s Carlos Museum, three of Georgia’s most celebrated poets gathered on a rainy Monday night to read from the Bard’s work, as well as their own.

Reading were Natasha Trethewey, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner; Kevin Young, National Book Award finalist and Guggenheim Fellow; and Jericho Brown, American Book Award winner. All are Emory professors, but Young and Trethewey are soon leaving for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Northwestern University, respectively. Monday’s reading marked perhaps the last time all three will read together at Emory. 

Poet Kevin Young reads poetry during the final week of the First Folio event at The Carlos Museum at Emory University, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Atlanta. The Folio is the only surviving original copy of all of Shakespeare?s plays, compiled by a couple of his friends right after his death. Branden Camp/Special The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

All have been influenced by Shakespeare’s work, which is showcased in the folio, a collection of his classics published two years after his death. Emory’s exhibit features the original 1623 edition. The thing of it is, had two of Shakespeare’s associates not compiled the volume, 18 of his major works would have been lost, among them “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” and “As You Like it.”

While the Emory poets did not pull from those works for their reading, they each chose sonnets that have influenced them at different times of their lives. Songs of love and loss captivated the room as they read from the Bard. There was laughter, as when Young read from his poem inspired by the work of Prince, and a few tears when Trethewey read from her upcoming memoir.

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey reads poetry during the final week of the First Folio event at The Carlos Museum at Emory University, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Atlanta. The Folio is the only surviving original copy of all of Shakespeare?s plays, compiled by a couple of his friends right after his death. Branden Camp/Special The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

To experience the reading, watch the ajc.com video above. There’s still time to see the original of the “First Folio” at Emory. “First Folio! The book that gave us Shakespeare,” exhibition closes on Sunday. Until then, it can be viewed from now until Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. The Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory, 571 S. Kilgo Circle, Atlanta. 404-727-4287 or http://carlos.emory.edu/content/first-folio-book-gave-us-shakespeare.

The First Folio of Shakespeare (front) and (background from left) Second, Third and Fourth Folios will be on view at Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum from Nov. 5 through Dec. 11. The First Folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, seven years after the Bard’s death. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM Hyosub Shin
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