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Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize Reading: Tsitsi Jaji

November 7, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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Hear 2018 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize-winner Tsitsi Jaji read from her second book of poems Mother Tongues (Northwestern University Press, 2019), selected by Matthew Shenoda, who says that “With considered precision and a scholar’s lens, we [the reader] dive deep into the cultural productions of a global Africa rife with brilliance and possibility.”  Irene Mathieu, honorable mention for Grand Marronage, as well as contest judge and 2019 Cave Canem guest poet Matthew Shenoda, begin the evening with introductory readings. Free and open to the public. Refreshments to follow. Co-sponsored with NYU Creative Writing Program.

Tsitsi Jaji is overjoyed to receive the Cave Canem second book award for Mother Tongues (Northwestern University Press, 2019). She is the author of Beating the Graves (University of Nebraska Press, 2017) and a chapbook, Carnaval, which appeared in the first New Generation African Poets box set, (African Poetry Book Fund/Slapering Hol, 2014). Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Black Renaissance Noire, Jalad a, New Coin, Harvard Review, Boston Review online, Poetry International and the American Academy of Poets Poem-a-Day series. She has given readings at the UNESCO, Library of Congress, United Nations and the Poetry Foundation, and has taught writing workshops in her home country, Zimbabwe. Jaji earns her living as an associate professor of English at Duke University and is the author of a scholarly book Africa in Stereo: Music, Modernism and Pan-African Solidarity (Oxford Uni. Press, 2014).

Dr. Irène P. Mathieu is a pediatrician and writer. She is the author of Grand Marronage (Switchback Books, 2019), orogeny (Trembling Pillow Press, 2017), and the galaxy of origins (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Narrative, Boston Review, Southern Humanities Review, Callaloo, TriQuarterly and elsewhere. Irène is on the editorial boards of Muzzle Magazine and the Journal of General Internal Medicine‘s humanities section. A member of the Jack Jones Literary Arts speakers’ bureau, she has received fellowships from Fulbright, Callaloo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Matthew Shenoda has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his work has been supported by the California Arts Council and the Lannan Foundation among others. His debut poetry collection, Somewhere Else (Coffee House Press, 2005), was named one of 2005’s debut books of the year by Poets & Writers Magazine and was the winner of a 2006 American Book Award. Shenoda is also the author of Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone (BOA Editions Ltd., 2009), editor of Duppy Conqueror: New & Selected Poems by Kwame Dawes, and most recently, author of Tahrir Suite: Poems (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2014), which won the 2015 Arab American Book Award. With Kwame Dawes, Shenoda is editor of Bearden’s Odyssey: Poets Respond to the Art of Romare Bearden (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2017). Formerly, Shenoda was the Assistant Provost for Equity and Diversity at CalArts where he also taught in the School of Critical Studies, and the Dean of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Columbia College Chicago where he was Professor of English and Creative Writing. He is currently the Vice President of Social Equity & Inclusion and Professor of Literary Arts and Studies at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Additionally, Shenoda teaches in the low-residency MFA Writing Program at Pacific University and is a founding editor of the African Poetry Book Fund.


November 7, 2019
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


NYU Lillian Vernon House
58 W 10th Street
New York, NY 10003 United States
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