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From Way Out Where: The Black Avant Garde

June 16 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

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An evening of readings, fragments, ephemera, and conversation by some of America’s most vanguard black writers. Curated by the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh, and moderated by Yona Harvey, this event promises the off kilter, the quasi-unhinged, some black quakes, and some possible blackest futures. REGISTER HERE.

Douglas Kearney has published seven books, including SHO (Wave, 2021) and Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, and silver medalist for the California Book Award (Poetry). M. NourbeSe Philip calls Kearney’s collection of libretti, Someone Took They Tongues. (Subito, 2016), “a seismic, polyphonic mash-up that disturbs the tongue.” Kearney’s Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. Kearney teaches Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.


Ruth Ellen Kocher is the author of Third Voice (Tupelo Press, 2016), Ending in Planes (Noemi Press, 2014), Goodbye Lyric: The Gigans and Lovely Gun (Sheep Meadow Press, 2014), domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press, 2013), Dorset Prize winner and the 2014 PEN/Open Book Award, One Girl Babylon (New Issues Press, 2003) Green Rose Prize winner, When the Moon Knows You’re Wandering (New Issues Press, 2002), and Desdemona’s Fire (Lotus Press 1999) Naomi Long Madgett Prize winner. Her poems appear in Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poets, Black Nature, From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great, An Anthology for Creative Writers: The Garden of Forking Paths, IOU: New Writing On Money, New Bones: Contemporary Black Writing in America. She has been awarded fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and Yaddo. She is a Contributing Editor at Poets & Writers Magazine and and Professor of English at the University of Colorado where she teaches Poetry, Poetics, and Literature.


Jonah Mixon-Webster is a poet and interdisciplinary artist from Flint, MI. His debut collection, Stereo(TYPE), received the PEN America/Joyce Osterweil Award and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. He is an alumnus of Eastern Michigan University and received a Ph.D. in English Studies from Illinois State University. He is the recipient of a Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry and fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, and the PEN Writing for Justice Program. His poetry and hybrid works are featured in various publications including Obsidian, Harper’s, The Yale Review, Jazz & Culture, The Rumpus, The New Republic, and Best American Experimental Writing


Xandria Phillips is a Whiting Award-winning poet, and visual artist from rural Ohio. The recipient of a LAMBDA Literary Award, and the Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging writers, Xandria is the author of HULL (Nightboat Books 2019) and Reasons for Smoking, which won the 2016 Seattle Review Chapbook Contest judged by Claudia Rankine. They have received fellowships from Brown University, Callaloo, Cave Canem, The Conversation Literary Festival, Oberlin College, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and are the 2021-2023 poetry fellow at the Center for African American Poetry. Their current projects include an experimental nonfiction manuscript, a book of ekphrastic poetry, and an ever-growing visual art studio practice. Xandria’s poetry has appeared in Berlin Quarterly Review, BOMB Magazine, Crazyhorse,, and Virginia Quarterly Review and anthologies such as Best Experimental Writing (Wesleyan Press 2020) and We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics (Nightboat Books 2020). Their paintings have been featured in Kenyon Review, The Poetry Project, and the cover of American Poets Magazine.


Yona Harvey is the author of the poetry collections You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love (Four Way Books) and Hemming the Water (Four Way Books), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She contributed to Marvel’s World of Wakanda and co-authored with Ta-Nehisi Coates Black Panther and the Crew. She has also worked with teenagers writing about mental health issues in collaboration with Creative Nonfiction magazine. She is an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh.


June 16
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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