On the latest Open Studio with Jared Bowen, we take a look at a new portrait exhibit at the Worcester Art Museum and also talk with UMass Amherst Professor Martín Espada about winning the 2021 National Book Award for poetry.

As London’s National Portrait Gallery remains closed for redevelopment, its organizers put together a touring exhibition called Love Stories. The international tour begins at the Worcester Art Museum and will include many works never before seen in the United States. Jared visits the space to talk with curators about bringing the gallery to life. Love Stories is on view through March 13, 2022.

Jared then sits down with Espada to discuss Floaters, a collection of poems that explore the topics of bigotry, protests and love. The collection is the 2021 winner of the National Book Award in poetry. The title poem draws on the deaths of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, 25, and his young daughter, Angie Valeria, whose bodies were found in the water along the Rio Grande. Espada, a professor of English at UMass Amherst, discusses these societal issues through the lens of poetry.

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