Announcing our Fall 2021 Season

Graphic with the words "Fall 2021" in the middle. Behind it is a black and white collage of our Fall 2021 featured writers.
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We are delighted to share our virtual Fall 2021 public programs! In addition to our amazing reading series and craft talks, this season features two new partnerships and special 25th anniversary events.

The season will open on September 30th with a New Works reading featuring Aurielle Marie’s Gumbo Ya Ya, winner of the 2020 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Now in its second year, First Books features debut poetry authors in dialogue with their literary influences. Later this fall we will spotlight Quintin Collins and Shayla Lawz in celebration of their recent collections.

Earlier this year, Cave Canem partnered with EcoTheo Collective for the inaugural Starshine and Clay Fellowship. Two of those fellows, Oak Morse and Ashunda Norris, received a featured reading at Wonder in Wyoming in July. This October, Starshine and Clay fellows Michael Frazier and Asmaa Jama will be featured in EcoTheo Collective’s celebrated Logos reading series. Later, we will partner with  Royall House and Slave Quarters for Poets on Craft, where audiences can learn more about writing legacies of slavery with Kiki Petrosino (White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia), Lauren Russell (Descent), and Imani Davis

Lastly, Cave Canem continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary following the reunion in June with two engagements: an intergenerational conversation on literary citizenship featuring Cave Canem fellows and alumni; and a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Brutal Imagination by Cave Canem’s co-founder Cornelius Eady.

Join us this fall as we celebrate, learn, and broaden our perspectives!


New Works: 2020 Cave Canem Poetry Prize
Thursday, September 30 | 7pm ET

Aurielle Marie reads from their Cave Canem Poetry Prize-winning debut, Gumbo Ya Ya, with contest judge Douglas Kearney. 

Presented in partnership with the New York University Creative Writing Program.


25th Anniversary
“with love like black, our black”: Black Poetry and Literary Citizenship

Wednesday, October 6 | 7pm ET

Four current and former Cave Canem fellows engage in conversation about the meaning of literary citizenship in their communities.


25th Anniversary
A Lucky Man Gets to Sing: Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Brutal Imagination

Thursday, October 21 | 7pm ET

A celebratory night honoring the 20th Anniversary of the publication and Vineyard Theatre production of Brutal Imagination by poet and Cave Canem co-founder Cornelius Eady. The evening features Eady, cast members from the original production & Erica Hunt as moderator.


Starshine and Clay Fellowship Reading
Saturday, October 23 | 6pm ET

This featured reading spotlights inaugural Starshine and Clay fellows Michael Frazier and Asmaa Jama. 

Presented in partnership with EcoTheo Collective.


New Works: Our Intimate Making
Monday, October 25 | 6pm ET

Derrick Austin (Tenderness), Richard Hamilton (Rest of Us), and Carly Inghram (The Animal Indoors) share poems from recent books on the intimacy of everyday life and Black queer consciousness within one’s own social and personal development. 

Presented in partnership with The New School Creative Writing Program.


Poets on Craft: Interrogating Legacies of Slavery
Wednesday, November 3 | 7pm ET

Kiki Petrosino (White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia) and Lauren Russell (Descent) discuss their process of writing about family histories, legacies of slavery, and archival research methods. Imani Davis moderates. 

Presented in partnership with Royall House and Slave Quarters.


First Books: Shayla Lawz with Ada Limón
Monday, November 15 | 7pm ET

Shayla Lawz discusses her recent debut, speculation, n., with Ada Limón, who reflects on her first book This Big Fake World (2006).


An Embrace of the Erratic: Finding Poetic Evolution Beyond Refinement
Wednesday, November 10 | 6-8pm ET

While most proper instruction on poetry focuses on internalizing craft concepts and refining their execution via emulation and practice (as is true for many artistic disciplines), most working writers invested in relevancy realize that their challenge is not how to get “better” (execution-wise) as a poet—which can be a fairly linear path—but rather how to evolve, how to be a poet who continues to arrive with the times and aesthetics around them.


First Books: Quintin Collins with Tara Betts
Wednesday, December 1 | 7pm ET

Quentin Collins discusses his recent debut, The Dandelion Speaks of Survival, with Tara Betts. The two revisit Betts’s first book, Arc and Hue (2009).


an accumulation: A Workshop Reading
Tuesday, December 7 | 6:30pm ET

Participants from Asiya Wadud’s workshop, an accumulation: returning to the unwritten and the unsaid, share new work.


New Works: Mathing Memory
Wednesday, December 8 | 7pm ET

Diane Exavier (The Math of Saint Felix), Shanta Lee Gander (GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA), and Chet’la Sebree (Field Study) share poems from recent books on introspection, memory, and personal and familial histories.


Best Practices: A Workshop Reading
Thursday, December 9 | 6:30pm ET

Participants from Safia Jama’s Best Practices: A Poetry Workshop share new work.