Imagine it's a rainy January night at a coffee shop in Hollywood. You're at a poetry open-mic night, expecting old women to read cat poetry, when suddenly Sylvia Plath walks to the stage lost in thoughts of “fetid wombs” and “indefatigable hoof-taps” to read from Ariel. Or imagine you just hopped on a boxcar, somewhere in Colorado, only to find Jack Kerouac reading from Mexico City Blues over the sound of clacking train tracks. While it's impossible to have interactions with these poetry iconoclasts, you will have an opportunity to hear a real poetry legend and MacArthur Genius when PEN Center USA brings Anne Carson to the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever. Carson will be reading from her 16th book, Nox, a collection of poems harmonizing with notebook entries she wrote after her brother's death in 2000. The book itself — gray and cold — suggests a tombstone. And according to The New Yorker, “The entries read like litanies — words you might utter as a stay against panic or darkness.” Not only will you have the opportunity to hear Carson's lyrical and analytical poems on loss and memory but she'll be introduced by Gabrielle Calvocoressi, a Stegner Fellow and Los Angeles poet who is carrying the torch and our city into the literary future. Masonic Lodge, Forever Hollywood Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; Sat., Jan. 21, 9 p.m.; $15. (323) 469-1181,

Sat., Jan. 21, 9 p.m., 2012

LA Weekly