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October 2020

First Books: Destiny O. Birdsong with Tarfia Faizullah

October 19, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Two brilliant poets meet in conversation on their respective first books. Cave Canem fellow Destiny O. Birdsong will read from her recent debut, Negotiations (Tin House, 2020), of which Elizabeth Acevedo says “for all of its ferocity in how it grapples with womanhood, sexuality, assault, and race, this collection is also full of wonder. Of forgiveness.” Tarfia Faizullah  reflects on her own first book, Seam (SIU Press 2014), described by Natasha Tretheway as containing "brave and unflinching vision" and "elegant and wise restraint." This program…

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Black Futures, Black Pasts with Yona Harvey and Cherene Sherrard

October 25, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Yona Harvey’s You Don't Have to Go to Mars for Love (Four Way Books, 2020) investigates Black futures and possibilities via the supernatural and Afro-futurism, while Cherene Sherrard uses one of the earliest cookbooks published by an African American woman to memorialize the past in her newest poetry collection, Grimoire (Autumn House Press, 2020). In Black Futures, Black Pasts, Harvey and Sherrard read from their recent books and talk with Cave Canem fellow Kush Thompson about centering Black womanhood in their work. This…

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Poets on Craft: Writing “The Life of…” with Rita Dove and Janice N. Harrington

October 28, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

In this intimate meeting-of-the-minds, hear two exceptional poets, Rita Dove and Janice N. Harrington, give insight into writing poetry that envisions the lives of prominent Black artists. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove will read from Sonata Mulattica (W. W. Norton, 2010), her tribute to 19th century Afro-European violin prodigy George Bridgetower, and Janice N. Harrington will read from Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin (BOA Editions, 2016). Cave Canem fellow, poet and essayist Natasha Oladokun moderates. This event is presented in partnership with The…

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November 2020

First Books: Jessica Lanay with Bhanu Kapil

November 7, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Two remarkable poets meet in conversation on their respective first books. Cave Canem fellow Jessica Lanay reads from her recent debut, am●phib●ian (Broadside Lotus Press, 2020), which has been praised by poet Maya Marshall as holding poems that are "ceremonial objects; they’re parts of spells cast to call up the dead and celebrate the women who lived." Bhanu Kapil reflects on her own first book, The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001), described by Jane Sprague as "stunning examination of longing, love, the physicality of memory,…

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New Works: Cave Canem Fellows Aricka Foreman, Dave Harris, and Valencia Robin

November 12, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Hear three brilliant Cave Canem fellows read work from their debut collections. Aricka Foreman is the author of Salt Body Shimmer (YesYes Books, 2020), described by Luther Hughes of Shade Literary Arts as “Lyrical and rife with utteranceInterior driven and intimately political.”  Dave Harris, whose work is praised by Marty Rosen for being “fearless in its scope and means,” is the author of Patricide (Button Poetry, 2019). Recipient of a 2018 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize, Valencia Robin‘s full-length collection, Ridiculous Light (Persea Books, 2019), “illuminates in utterly lyrical and necessary ways,” as said…

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When Poetry Meets Memoir: A Master Class with Anastacia-Renee

November 14, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  “…my eyes are always hungry and remembering however the image enters its force remains.” -Audre Lorde   When we engage with the intricacies of what the body cannot forget and interrogate the multiple ways to tell and retell the stories the mind remembers, we call it memoir. This masterclass encourages writers to take memoires from the past and present and infuse two or more poetic devices to create one new piece of multi-genre, hybrid work. We will push beyond…

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Writers Worktable: Criticism in Focus with Jerome Ellison Murphy and Anthony Reed

November 24, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Jerome Ellison Murphy (“Conspicuous Erudition: The New Black Poetry”) and Anthony Reed (Freedom Time: The Poetics and Politics of Black Experimental Writing) discuss the role of criticism, contextualizing poetry, and the state and future of Black poetry.   Click here to RSVP.   Jerome Ellison Murphy is a poet and critic based in New York City. His critical writing has appeared in The Yale Review, LA Review of Books, Publishers Weekly, Poets & Writers, The Adroit Journal, The Brooklyn Rail, Lambda Literary, and more. His poetry appears or is forthcoming in LitHub, Narrative Magazine, The Cortland…

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December 2020

New Works: Blacqueer Debuts with Jubi Arriola-Headley, Taylor Johnson, and Romeo Oriogun

December 10, 2020 @ 7:30 pm

Hear three extraordinary Blacqueer poets read from and discuss new work.  Jubi Arriola-Headley is author of original kink (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2020), about which Douglas Kearney has said, "There’s warmth, sure. Love, yes lord. And even joy. But Jubi Arriola-Headley’s debut doesn’t go easy on religion, desire, power and the intersections where these collide with race, queerness, and gender." Taylor Johnson's Inheritance (Alice James Books, 2020) has been described by Fred Moten as containing poems that "beautifully and miraculously extend the general song of being sung…

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Dream/Memory/Ecstasy: A Workshop Reading

December 14, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Participants from Dream/Memory/Ecstasy, one of Cave Canem's workshops this fall, will read from work developed with Ladan Osman. Click here to RSVP. Course Description This workshop explores the language/system of the mind in memory (re)construction, dreams, and in the alternative reality of hallucinations or visions. We will explore artistic, spiritual, and scientific inquiries of self-image making while thinking about how the process of recalling/reconstructing those images encourages a flexible understanding of time. How can we translate the images that stay…

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Ekphrasis and the Body: A Workshop Reading

December 16, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Participants from Ekphrasis and the Body, one of Cave Canem's workshops this fall, will read from work developed with Omotara James. Click here to RSVP. Course Description Traditionally, an ekphrastic poem describes or gives voice to a visual work of art. When we are moved by a piece of art, we usually experience it viscerally, before we process it intellectually. In other words, we experience art in the body. The body not only houses these experiences, but contains every memory…

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