The Art of Listening (virtual)

The Art of Listening (virtual)

Dec 10

Join blind poet and memoirist Stephen Kuusisto as he talks about what it means to be a “literary listener.” Kuusisto writes: “Starting in the 1920’s creative writers turned to the image as the means for conveying immediacy in literature. The idea was to be as clear as news photos. These talks will instead focus on sound as a tool of the imagination. Igor Stravinsky said: “Hearing has no merit. A duck hears also.” Our goal is to explore the art of active listening. “ We’ll explore opera arias, steamboat whistles, the chance music of what happens around us, conversations overheard, the sound of a baseball cracking off a bat, water coursing, Chet Baker’s trumpet, Beethoven’s old piano—in short talk about stretching our ears. The aim is to promote great listening, literary invention, and yes, fun.

December 3 (Session One): “Who Are the Great Literary Listeners?”

Kuusisto talks about literary listening: why is it different from just hearing things? From John Keats to Tillie Olson, from Hemingway to Toni Morrison the best writers have had a true felicity for deep listening and have conveyed it in their work. One outcome is that you’ll appreciate the auditory imagination when reading.

December 10 (Session Two): The Practice of Active Listening”

Kuusisto provides exercises (many drawn from his own life of blind travel) that will sharpen the skills of anyone who wants to not only listen with attention, but also put that experience into writing.

RSVP the Friday before each session to Sabrina Bolus at or 415-694-7607.



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