University of Rochester

EVENT: "SumericaBachBones," a multimedia performance of poetry, song, and image, incorporating the work of Iraqi dissident poets

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, in the Gowen Room of Wilson Commons on the University of Rochester's River Campus

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public Note: Parking is available on University lots weeknights.

April 15, 2003

A multimedia program of poetry, song, and visual images by two renowned artists, who have framed their original work with contemporary dissident Iraqi poetry in translation, will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, in the Gowen Room of Wilson Commons on the University of Rochester's River Campus.

Pierre Joris, an avant-garde poet and professor of English at the University of Albany, and Nicole Peyrafitte, an international visual and voice artist, have created "SumericaBachBones." Their performance, which is free and open to the public, includes songs and digital images by Peyrafitte and work by Joris on various subjects, including the lives of ancient Sumerian women, the lives of contemporary nomads, dreamscapes, and desert lands.

Born in Luxembourg, Joris works in three languages-English, French, and German-and has lived in Great Britain, North Africa, France, and the United States. He is the author of more than 20 collections of poetry, including Poasis, h.j.r, and Winnetou Old, as well as several anthologies and numerous translations.

Joris is highly regarded for his translations, which include Breathturn, the work of eminent Romanian-born poet and Holocaust survivor Paul Celan. Another book, pppppp: The Selected Writings of Kurt Schwitters, done in collaboration with Jerome Rothenberg, received the PEN Center USA West Literary Award for Translation.

Joris is also co-editor with Rothenberg of the anthology Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern and Postmodern Poetry. The first volume, titled From Fin-de-Siecle to Negritude, is considered one of the most ambitious efforts to define the poetic history of the 20th century and received the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature.

Peyrafitte was born in France and worked in theater and in television as well as a model and a cook before coming to the United States in 1987. A multi-faceted artist, she draws, paints, writes, and sings, and combines elements from all in her programs. She has performed in England, Norway, France, Luxembourg, and the United States.

Her recent programs have included a performance of French cabaret songs and contemporary poetry; a show about the heroine of a French folk song, "Ninon," that weaves together vocals, bilingual narratives, and electronically projected visuals; and an audience participation event titled "The Crepe, The Theorist, the Chef and the Volunteer."

Peyrafitte and Joris have collaborated for 13 years in multimedia performances. They will tour California and Europe this year with their new program, "&Toiles." In Rochester, "SumericaBachBones" is sponsored by the Department of English, the Undergraduate English Council, and New Visions Programs, a community-based literary arts organization. For more information, call (585) 275-4092.