Mark Doty, who was born in Maryville, Tennessee, and now lives in New York, was the first American poet to win the T.S. Eliot Award, and is a former winner of the National Book Award for Poetry. He first came to public attention with work exploring gay identity and the AIDS epidemic. Deep Lane, published this spring, is a book of descents – into the earth beneath the garden, and into the dark substrata of life. It ranges from agony to rapture, from great depths to hard-won heights. Ruth Padel, a former winner of the National Poetry Competition, was shortlisted for the 2014 T.S. Eliot Award for Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth, a book on conflict, harmony and creativity, weaving contemporary Middle Eastern politics and the history and culture of the Abrahamic religions, with music and craftsmanship. At its heart is a sequence on the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross. Introduced by Fiona Sampson, Director, Roehampton Poetry Centre, our co-hosts for this event, Doty and Padel read from their work.

Mark Doty photo by Renato Pensold.