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Big on Books?

Last year, as part of the PEN World Voice Festival Obsession Series at The Standard, East Village, a selection of top literati spoke openly about their biggest obsessions. Lewis Lapham talked about the allure of smoking, Andrew Solomon on his love of sleep, and Naomi Wolf discussed the gap between what is perceived to be truth and what is actually truth.

This year PEN enlisted sex-advice superstar (and founder of It Gets Better project) Dan Savage to lead the talks. He selected four progressive LGBT artists to speak on their obsessions. See the lineup below:

Eileen Myles on Spoilage and Ruination of Other Kinds
New York City’s punk-rock poet will open up about her fear of the constant danger of things going bad or spoiling – and the moral component accompanying this simple fact of biology.
Tuesday, April 29:
Get tickets here.

Emily Bazelon on Childhood Demons
Bestselling author and anti-bullying activist Emily Bazelon's childhood demon isn't what you'd expect: tennis. She'll explain her quirky and complicated relationship with the game in her talk.
Wednesday, April 30
Get tickets here.

Jennifer Boylan on Lost Loves
LGBT activist Jennifer Finney Boylan explores a past relationship from high school that has become an enduring nook in her psyche.
Thursday, May 1
Get tickets here.

Dan Savage on Plaques and Trophies
Savage will his obsession with plaques and trophies like “Employee of the Month” awards or an “In honor of your service” plaques, objects meaningful to only one specific person at a specific time or place. The consensus: time isn't kind to objects like these.
Friday, May 2
Get tickets here.

Masha Gessen on Citizen-Victims
Masha Gessen just can't get this thought out of her head: Those who live in a totalitarian state are like victims of abuse. The acclaimed Russian author and journalist bounces her theory off an expert in trauma psychology.
Saturday, May 3
Get tickets here.

For the literate, a poem from one of the speakers:

Close to the
door in
my dream the
small signs

I saw a brown
sign with wisdom
on it
I saw a brown
one leaning
with wisdom
on it

fringe of a mirror
my mother
leaning over a pond
cupping water

leaning against
the moulding
cardboard or
wood which materials do you

does your wisdom prefer

which a-
partment in a summer
with someone
I felt brave to
have touched
her love the screen
door and the dogs
and the cats always
getting out. That
was the fear
two signs
fading but recalling
they had faded like words
fade in stone because
of the rain and the days
and waking and the dream
is leaving with every
step leaning over the meat
because I do not want
you to have died in vain
kissing the turkey and
the neck of  my dog
all animals am I.
all dreams, all stone
all message am I.

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