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Cave Canem Faculty Reading at University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg

June 10 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

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Cave Canem supports the work of Black poets in the literary landscape through a suite of core programs, namely the annual Cave Canem Retreat–a week-long residency of intensive poetry workshops and readings hosted at the University of Pittsburgh’s Greensburg campus. Participants who complete the Retreat receive the honor of becoming Cave Canem Fellows.

In tandem with this year’s retreat, Cave Canem is thrilled to host a public reading from our esteemed faculty. For this gathering, we feature readings from Tracie Morris, A Van Jordan, and Matthew Shenoda. We invite you to experience these world-class poets firsthand on the UPitt Greensburg campus.


About the Readers

Born in Brooklyn, interdisciplinary poet and sound artist Tracie Morris earned an MFA at Hunter College and a PhD at New York University. She studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and at Michael Howard Studios.

In her poetry, Morris transforms and complicates her subjects of abuse, power, and the body through repetition and accretive adjustments or substitutions, creating an intimate, dynamic space for readers and listeners. In a 2014 interview with Queen GodIs for Creative Capital, Morris states, “For me, sound poetry teases apart the meaning that is embedded with sound and separates that from literal meaning. So what I try to do is pull those things apart and then create a narrative arc from it.” In the essay “Improvisational Insurrection: The Sound Poetry of Tracie Morris,” published in American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (2007), Christine Hume observes, “Morris employs the kind of fierce, active repetition that might make even veteran Stein readers dizzy, but she does so with electric phrasing, lightning-fast tonal shifts, an uncanny sense of time, and a stampede of ligatured sounds that provides a literal vocal bridge between musical improvisation and poetry.”

Morris’s poetry collections include handholding: 5 kinds (2016), Rhyme Scheme (2012), and Intermission (1998). Her work is featured in numerous anthologies, including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (2015), The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015), and An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art (2002). With Charles Bernstein, she coedited Best American Experimental Writing (2016).

Her sound installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial, MoMA, the Jamaica Center for Arts &Learning, and other sites. She leads the Tracie Morris Band and is also a lead singer for the group Terraplane. A frequent performer at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in the early 1990s, Morris won championships for the Nuyorican Grand Slam and the National Haiku Slam in 1993. She has received numerous additional honors, including grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Creative Capital, and the Asian Cultural Council and residencies at Yaddo and the Millay and MacDowell colonies. She has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a CPCW poetics fellow, and Pratt Institute, where she is a professor in humanities and media studies.

A Van Jordan is the author of five collections of poetry: Rise, which won the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award (Tia Chucha Press, 2001); M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, (2005), which was listed as one the Best Books of 2005 by The London Times; Quantum Lyrics, (2007); and The Cineaste, (2013), W.W. Norton & Co. Jordan has been awarded a Whiting Writers Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He is also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007), a United States Artists Fellowship (2009), and a Lannan Literary Award in Poetry (2015). His latest collection, When I Waked, I Cried to Dream Again, was released in June, 2023 (W.W. Norton & Co). Among his many academic appointments, he most recently served as the Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor of English Literature at The University of Michigan, before coming to Stanford University, where he currently holds the Humanities and Sciences Chair in English, and he also serves as part of the inaugural faculty in the Department of African & African American Studies.

Matthew Shenoda is the author of the poetry collections Somewhere Else, Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone, Tahrir Suite, and The Way of the Earth and co-editor of Bearden’s Odyssey: Poets Respond to the Art of Romare Bearden. He is Professor and Chair of the Department of Literary Arts and affiliated faculty in Africana Studies and the Brown Arts Institute at Brown University. Additionally, Shenoda is a founding editor of the African Poetry Book Fund.

Access Notes

• Virtual livestream with closed captioning available
• ASL interpretation services provided (both in-person and live-stream)
• If you have any questions or concerns regarding accessibility for this event, please reach out to the Cave Canem Programs team at [email protected]


This program is supported, in part, by private funds from The Heinz Endowments, the Mellon Foundation, and the University of Pittsburgh, and in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.


June 10
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Village Hall, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA 15601 United States
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