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Opening Circle: Memorial

June 14 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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The Cave Canem Retreat begins with an opening circle, where all 50 or so fellows, faculty, and staff share what brought them to the space. At once emotional, charged, and joyous, the opening circle breaks ground by inviting everyone to bring their full self to the week ahead and welcomes new fellows into a community of writers. In this spirit, poets from the Cave Canem Fellowship reflect on 25 years of being in community and pay tribute to former faculty and fellows such as Lucille Clifton, Monica Hand, and Carrie Allen McCray.

REGISTER HERE. This event is supported by American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and automated closed captioning.

Herman Beavers is Professor of English and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He teaches courses in 20th Century and Contemporary Africa American literature and poetry writing. His most recent poems have appeared in Cleaver Magazine, the American Arts Quarterly, and been anthologized in the 2014 Anthology of Featered Poets, and Obsession: Sestinas for the Twenty-Frist Century. His scholarly monograph, Geography and the Political Imaginary in the Novels of Toni Morrison is forthcoming from Palgrave McMillian in late 2017 and his chapbook, Obsidian Blues has just been published by Agape Editions, as part of the Morning House Chapbook Series. He serves as an advisory editor for The African Review, The Black Scholar, and Modern Fiction Studies.

Tara Betts is the author of Break the Habit and Arc & Hue. In addition to working as an editor, a teaching artist, and mentor for poets, she has taught at several universities. She is the Inaugural Poet for the People Practitioner Fellow at University of Chicago and founder of Whirlwind Learning Center.

Remica Bingham-Risher, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is a Cave Canem fellow and Affrilachian Poet. Among other journals, her work has been published in The New York Times, The Writer’s ChronicleCallaloo and Essence. She is the author of Conversion (Lotus, 2006) winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, What We Ask of Flesh (Etruscan, 2013) shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and Starlight & Error (Diode, 2017) winner of the Diode Editions Book Award and a finalist for the Library of Virginia Book Award. She is currently the Director of Quality Enhancement Plan Initiatives at Old Dominion University and resides in Norfolk, VA with her husband and children.

Brian Gilmore, a writer and law professor, is the author of four collections of poetry, including come see about me, marvin, (Wayne State Press), a 2020 Michigan Notable Books recipient. He has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Progressive Magazine. His 2015 collection, We Didn’t Know Any Gangsters (Cherry Castle Publishing) was a nominee for the NAACP Image Award and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. He is also a Kimbilio Fellow. Gilmore lives in Washington, D.C.


June 14
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm