Pico Iyer’s new book—on hauntedness, fathers and Graham Greene—is The Man Within My Head.
He is “a writer like no other,” wrote Jan Morris. “His particular gifts of thoughtfulness, perception and descriptive power, allied by now with profound experience, reach new levels of grace.”
Rebecca Solnit’s books include River of Shadows, A Field Guide to Getting Lost and A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster. Her “extraordinary mind seizes hold of an unexpected topic and renders it with such confidence, subtlety and grace that one finds it hard to remember what things looked like before,” wrote The New York Times.
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Pico Iyer describes a trip to India at 92Y in April of 2005.
Travel writer Pico Iyer first read at 92nd Street Y's Unterberg Poetry Center in 2005. Today’s featured recording is an excerpt from that appearance. In this video he describes a recent journey to India and the mystifying experience of attempting to decipher the strange English street-signs he encountered all around him.
“Last Wednesday found me sitting in the shadow of the Himalayas, surrounded by snowcaps and red-robed monks. Last Thursday I was in Singapore. Last Friday I was in Los Angeles. Now I don’t have a clue where I am,” he said from stage that night, having been introduced, by Caryl Phillips, as “the most global of souls—sensitive and curious about everything. A shining example of how one might live in this brave, new, hybrid world as both a writer and a thinker.”
Iyer's new book, The Man Within My Head, focuses on his obsession with Graham Greene while also featuring passages of memoir about his family and dispatches from faraway places. He'll be at 92Y on February 9th for a reading from this book. What gives the book its distinction is “the range of [Iyer’s] sympathies—for a diversity of cultures, for varieties of religious belief, for opposed political positions—and his luminous intelligence,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. Iyer’s reading partner on February 9th will be Rebecca Solnit, whose own work is well known for its range of sympathies and luminous intelligence. Her new book, From the Faraway Nearby, comes out in 2013, and we hope she’ll read some passages from it.
Coming up at 92Y Poetry: Jean Strouse and Colm Toibin on Alice James on February 26.
In an ongoing effort to share with our readers some of the great literary moments which the Unterberg Poetry Center has presented across the decades, we've begun to feature regular postings of archival recordings. For access to other recordings, please click here.
Unterberg Poetry Center webcasts and access to our archive are made possible in part by the generous support of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation.