Don't Deny My Voice faculty and staff

“Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetry”

A 2013 three-week summer institute funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that responded to resurgence of interest in contemporary poetry, its expanded production and wide circulation.

Why Study African American Poetry?

In 2011, Nikki Finney became the most recent in a line of African American poets to win the prestigious National Book Award for Poetry. In January 2012, when Natasha Trethewey became the first poet in history to become our National Poet Laureate and a state poet laureate (Mississippi) simultaneously, many signaled this as the new age of poetry, nothing short of a black poetry renaissance. The honor, however, was punctuated by discord. A sharp dialogue between Rita Dove and Helen Vendler in the pages of the New York Review of Books about the significance of black poetry sent us back to an earlier time in our history when black literary expression, like the people who produced it, was deemed inferior. The institute seeks to address this contradiction: black poetry’s national and international reputation and its understudied, marginalized status in academic discourse and published scholarship.

In addition to its growing visibility in our public sphere, the global explosion in spoken word poetry makes more urgent the need for shared discussions about form, function and change in poetry and its impact within literature and the humanities. Such a process also allows us to reclaim the large number of poets whose work remains invisible. Nowhere is this more clear than in the shift occurring in black poetry since the 1980s. In what many scholars refer to as the post-soul era, black poetry has followed two divergent, albeit cross-fertilizing, trajectories. On one hand, professionally (MFA) trained black poets demonstrate mastery over the forms of poetry receiving validation within the larger academic and literary culture, as indicated by five Pulitzer Prize winners and/or finalists and twelve National Book awards winners and/or finalists since 1987. This contrasts sharply with previous periods in the 20th century when poets studied and developed independently, honing their talents in writers’ collectives. The experiences of poets after the 1980s also contrasts with poets from the Black Arts Movement, known for their sharp and vocal critiques of social injustice. On the other hand, the contemporary landscape of poetry reflects a paradigmatic shift away from the prevailing model of written and/or academic poetry and more toward spoken word poetries.

NEH Summer Scholars will engage in a critical examination of these two trajectories as distinct but related bodies of black poetry – academic and spoken word – reflecting and refracting conflicting sensibilities and epistemologies within African American culture. Our goal is to gain an understanding of how both can exemplify excellence in their respective mediums.

About the Institute

Maryemma Graham, Institute Director

Maryemma Graham is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Kansas. She received a bachelor’s in English and journalism from University of North Carolina, a master’s in English from Northwestern University, a master’s in Africana Studies from Cornell University, and a doctorate in English and American Studies from Cornell. She is the founder and Director of the Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW), which is the only archive of its kind dedicated to literary recovery, academic/professional training, public outreach and digital access. She is the author or editor of ten books, including The Cambridge History of African American Literature (with Jerry W. Ward, Jr.), the first comprehensive African American literary history to be published in the 21st century. At KU, Graham founded the Langston Hughes Poetry Project and while President of the Toni Morrison Society, created Language Matters, an international teaching initiative. In 2010, she created the Wright Connection, an online community for the study of Richard Wright. Graham has been a John Hope Franklin Fellow at the National Humanities Center, an ACLS fellow and a recipient of more than fifteen grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon and Ford Foundations. In 2013, Graham will publish (with C.B. Claiborne) her first multimedia book, Margaret Walker’s South, from the University Press of Mississippi and in 2014, her long awaited biography, The House Where My Soul Lives: The Life of Margaret Walker, will be released by Oxford.

Anthony Bolden

Anthony Bolden is Associate Professor of African/African American Studies at the University of Kansas. Professor Bolden completed his B.A. in English at Dillard University, his M.A. in Afro-American Studies at the University of Iowa, and his Ph.D. in English at Louisiana State University. He has been a professor at Dillard University as well as the University of Alabama. His teaching and research interests include African-American music, African-American Literature, African-American Cultural Theory, African-American Intellectual History, and African Literature. He has published extensively on Funk and Blues. Both of his books, Afro-Blue: Improvisations in African American Poetry and Culture (2004) and The Funk Era and Beyond: New Perspectives on Black Popular Culture (2008) are part of the institute’s readings.

Joanne Gabbin

Joanne Gabbin is a Professor of English as well as the Director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, the most important institution for black poetry in the country. She earned her B.A. in English at Morgan State College in Maryland, her M.A. from the University of Chicago in American Literature, with special focus in Black Literature, and her Ph.D. in English Language and Literature also from the University of Chicago. Before teaching at JMU, she taught in the English Department at Lincoln University. In addition to teaching English at JMU she has also served as Director of the Honors Program there. She is author of Sterling A. Brown: Building the Black Aesthetic Tradition, editor of The Furious Flower: African American Poetry from the Black Arts Movement to the Present and The Furious Flowering of African American Poetry, and executive producer of The Furious Flower video and DVD series. A dedicated teacher and scholar, she has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching and scholarship. In October 2005, Dr. Gabbin was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent.

Howard Rambsy II

Howard Rambsy II is Associate Professor of Literature and the Director of the Black Studies Program at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. He teaches African American literature courses and coordinates weekly public humanities programs. His writings on Richard Wright, Colson Whitehead, Aaron McGruder, and black poetry have appeared in African American Review, The Southern Quarterly, Black Issues Book Review, The Crisis magazine, and Mississippi Quarterly. His book, The Black Arts Enterprise (2011), focuses on a defining African American literary and cultural movement of the 1960s and 1970s that involved figures such as Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, and Nikki Giovanni and is a key institute text. He has designed several mixed media exhibits featuring literature, and he blogs frequently about poetry.

Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

Jerry W. Ward, Jr. is a retired Professor of English from Dillard University), a Famous Overseas Professor at Central China Normal University (Wuhan) and Adjunct Research Associate at the University of Kansas. He earned his B.S. in Mathematics from Tougaloo College and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia. He is a poet and literary critic. He has taught at universities and colleges nationwide, including Tougaloo College, Grinnell College, New York University, the University of Mississippi, Talladega College and the University of Utah. Ward has published six books, including the anthology Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African American Poetry and THE KATRINA PAPERS: A Journal of Trauma and Recovery, and most recently co-edited The Richard Wright Encyclopedia with Robert Butler and The Cambridge History of African American Literature with Maryemma Graham. Ward's signature poem is "Jazz to Jackson to John." Some of his other works include Black Southern Voices and Redefining American Literary History. Ward is currently working on Richard Wright: One Reader's Responses and a book of essays to be entitled Reading Race Reading America.

Melissa Watterworth Batt

Melissa Watterworth Batt is Curator of Alternative Press, Literary and Natural History Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut Libraries. As literary curator, she oversees and introduces students to the personal papers and manuscripts of over 100 American writers of the 19th and 20th centuries, including poets associated with the Black Mountain, Beat, and New York Schools of poetry. She holds a Master of Arts in History and Master of Science, Library and Information Science from Simmons College. She previously held the position of Project Coordinator for Connecticut History Online, a resource of digital cultural heritage materials from museums, libraries and archives throughout the state. She also served as Technical Archivist at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1998 to 2003.

Adam Bradley

Adam Bradley is Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He completed his B.A. in English at Lewis & Clark College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University. Before becoming a professor at the University of Colorado, he taught at Claremont College McKenna College in California. The author of many texts, Professor Bradley has provided the seminal handbook for studying contemporary black poetry, redefining the concept of poetics in his groundbreaking Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop (2009), which is one of the critical texts for the institute. Presently Bradley is at work on several projects, including a book exploring the poetics of popular song. What unites Adam’s work is his belief that the most powerful cultural expressions are equally the product of tradition and innovation. This vernacular process of fusing the inherited or even the imposed with the imagined helps explain the beauty we find in everything from a classical symphony to a gutbucket blues, from an epic poem to a rap freestyle.

Kathleen Bethel

Kathleen Bethel is the African American Studies Librarian at Northwestern University Library, Evanston, IL. Bethel attended Elmhurst College, receiving a B.A. in Political Science. She received a M.A.L.S. from Dominican University and a M.A. in African history from Northwestern University. She has worked at the Johnson Publishing Company library, the Newberry Library, and the Maywood and Wilmette Public Libraries. Currently serving on the Council, the governing body of the American Library Association, Bethel is active with the African American Studies Librarianship Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Black Caucus of ALA. Kathleen is involved in library leadership, diversity, recruitment, and research activities. Bethel has worked on various projects exploring and documenting Black life and culture. She served as an International Non-governmental Observer for the first national elections in South Africa, and 2 years later, as a Fulbright Library Fellow posted to the University of Durban-Westville, now the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She consulted on Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History's Africa Project. She has written biographical entries, book reviews, reports, and bibliographies on a variety of topics in Black Studies.

Anthony Grooms

Anthony Grooms is a Professor of Creative Writing and Interdisciplinary Studies at Kennesaw State University. He received his B.A. in Theater and Speech from the College of William and Mary and his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from George Mason University. Grooms, who writes on a variety of subjects, is best known for Bombingham, a novel set during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Other works include Ice Poems, a chapbook of poems, and Trouble No More, a collection of short stories. Among his many awards are two Lillian Smith Prizes for fiction, a Hurston-Wright Legacy Finalist award, the Sokolov Scholarship from the Bread Load Writers’ Conference, the Lamar Lectureship of Wesleyan College, an Arts Administration Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Fulbright Fellowship for teaching and research in Sweden. The Georgia Center for the Book chose Trouble No More and Bombingham for the “Top 25 List of Books All Georgians Should Read.” His interest in expatriate black writers brings him to the institute, where he will share information on recently discovered communities in Sweden here black poets have lived since the 1960s.

Joseph Harrington

Joseph Harrington is Professor of English at KU. He earned his B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University and his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Harrington is a poet and critic. His published works include Things Come On: an amneoir (2011), a mixed-genre work relating the twinned narratives of the Watergate scandal and his mother's cancer. That text was selected by National Book Award-winning poet Camille Dungy as a Rumpus magazine Poetry Book Club selection. He is also the author of the chapbook Earth Day Suite (2010) and the critical work Poetry and the Public (2002). His creative work also has appeared in Hotel Amerika, No Tell Motel, 1913, BathHouse, Otoliths, Fact-Simile, and Tarpaulin Sky, among others.

William Joe Harris

William J. Harris is Professor of American Literature and Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Kansas. He received his B.A. in English from Central State University, his M.A. in Creative Writing as well as his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Stanford. Professor Harris has taught at Cornell, the University of California- Riverside, Harvard, State University of New York- Stony Brook, and the Penn State University. His areas of research include American Literature, African American Literature, jazz studies, American poetry and creative writing. Professor Harris has published poetry in fifty anthologies, such as Every Goodby Ain’t Gone (2006) and Begin Again (2011). His books of poems include Hey Fella Would You Mind Holding This Piano A Moment (1974), In My Own Dark Way (1977), Domande Personali (2010) and Crooners (2011). He is the editor or co-editor of The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader (1991, 2000), Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of African American Literary Tradition (1997) and a double issue of The African American Review on Amiri Baraka (Summer/Fall 2003). He is an editor or advisory editor for The African American Review, mixed blood, the University of Iowa Press Contemporary North American Poetry Series, Penn Sound: Amiri Baraka and Modern American Poetry: Amiri Baraka. His awards and fellowships include the College of the Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher Award (Penn State), and the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship (Harvard University). He was a member of the Jazz Study Group at Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies for over a decade. His book, The Poetry and Poetics of Amiri Baraka: The Jazz Aesthetic (1986) serves as a major source for our understanding of the tradition of jazz poetry in the 1960s.

Clarence W. Hunter

Clarence W. Hunter was born in Washington, D. C. on September 17th, 1929. He was educated in the D. C. Public Schools, including extensive mentoring from Dr. Carter G. Woodson at the Association for Study of Negro Life and History. Hunter received his AB degree from Howard University in 1951. He would go on to receive a Masters in Science degree from Teacher’s College Columbia, and a Masters in Library Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. Hunter served in the United States Army during the Korean Incident, receiving an honorable discharge. He taught in Uganda, East Africa for six years under a grant from Teacher’s College. He has worked at Tougaloo College, Tougaloo Mississippi, since 1989 as Archivist and curator of the Tougaloo College Civil Rights Collection.

Meta DuEwa Jones

Meta DuEwa Jones is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Co-Director for the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies. She earned her B.A. in English from Princeton and her M.A. in English from Stanford. Before joining the faculty at the University of Texas, Professor Jones taught at George Washington University. Her research interests include 20th- and 21st-century American poetry and poetics, especially in relationship to gender, sexuality and performance studies; African-American literature, criticism and theory; textual studies; jazz; gender and sexuality studies; and visual culture studies. Her recently published book, The Muse is Music: Jazz Poetry From the Harlem Renaissance to Spoken Word (2011), highlights the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality within the jazz tradition and its legacy in hip hop. The book focuses on musical, visual, oral and technological performance with a special focus on poets involved in contemporary venues for black writing such as the Dark Room Collective and the Cave Canem Foundation. It recently received honorable mention for the William Sanders Scarborough Prize from the Modern Language Association.

Jill Kuhnheim

Jill Kuhnheim is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, as well as the Director for the Center of Latin American Studies at the University of Kansas. She earned her B.A. in English from Reed College in Portland and her Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from the University of California, San Diego. Before the University of Kansas, Professor Kuhnheim taught at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the University of Kentucky – Lexington, and Miami University of Ohio. Her principal areas of research and teaching are contemporary poetry, cultural studies, and gender studies in Spanish America. Her most recent book, Spanish American Poetry at the End of the 20th Century: Textual Disruptions (2004) examines the variety of cultural roles played by poetry in late 20th-century Spanish America; it was awarded the Byron Caldwell Award for best book in the Humanities from the Hall Center in 2005. Professor Kuhnheim is currently working on a project that studies poetry and performance in Spanish America from the earlier 20th-century until the present day.

R. Baxter Miller

R. Baxter Miller is Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Georgia. The editor of the Langston Hughes Review, he has written or edited ten books, including the internationally acclaimed Black American Literature and Humanism and The Art and Imagination of Langston Hughes, which won the American Book Award for 1991. One of five co-editors and co-authors to bring out Call and Response: The Riverside Edition of African American Literature (1998, 2003), he specializes in the study of poetics across the centuries. His most important essays are extensively revised and published as Artistry of Memory (2008). Of his ten volumes, the critical edition Black American Poets between Worlds, 1940-1960 (1986) is an academic bestseller, and The Southern Trace in Black Critical Theory (1991), a critical study, helped establish the new series of the Xavier Review Press. Much of his revised oeuvre appears as The Artistry of Memory. Miller has published widely in such journals as American Literary Scholarship, Southern Literary Journal, Mississippi Quarterly, South Atlantic Review, Journal of the Midwestern Modern Language Association, MELUS (Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States), African American Review, American Studies Yearbook (of Eastern Europe), and International Journal for the Humanities. He has earned both the Langston Hughes Award and the Ford-Turpin honor for the stewardship of African American critical legacy.

Opal Moore

Opal Moore is a poet, writer, Professor of English and Creative Writing and Director of the Honors Program at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. She earned her B.F.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University, her M.A. from the Iowa School of Art and M.F.A. from the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. Moore has held teaching positions at the University of Iowa, Virginia State University, Radford University, Hollins College, and was a Fulbright professor at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet in Germany, lecturing on African American women's literature. She is the author of Lot's Daughters and her fiction and poetry have appeared in journals and anthologies and online journals, including Furious Flower: African American Poetry from the Black Arts Movement to the Present, 100 Best African American Poems, The Notre Dame Review, Callaloo, MiPoesia, and Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African American Women's Humor. Recently her poems have appeared in performance art collaborations. The performance work, The Delfina Project, a meditation on the Middle Passage, was presented in various readings and forums in the U.S. and six cities in Germany. She has served as co-editor (with Donnarae MacCann) of the column "Multicultural Literature" for the Children's Literature Association Quarterly, which examined the representations of ethnicities in children's and young adult literatures. Her articles on this subject have also appeared in The Black American in Books for Children (1985), The Role of Illustration in Multicultural Literature for Youth (1997) and Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: A Casebook (Oxford UP, 1999). Her essay “Redefining the Art of Poetry” in the Cambridge History of African American Literature is one of our required readings.

Tracie Morris

Tracie Morris is Professor of Humanities and Media Studies and Coordinator of Performance and Performance Studies at Pratt Institute. She received her B.A. and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Hunter College, as well as her M.A. and Ph.D. in Performance Studies at New York University. Morris also trained in British Acting Technique at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England. She is an acclaimed artist and poet and has published many of her works. She is a poet, performer and scholar. Her installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial, Ronald Feldman Gallery, the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning and the New Museum. She is developing two audio projects:The Tracie Morris Band and sharpmorris, a collaboration with composer Elliott Sharp. Dr. Morris’ research interests include poetry and performance, poetics and theory, critical theory, and contemporary African American poetry. She most recently published Rhyme Scheme (Zasterle Press) and is featured in the newly released recording by Elliott Sharp's band Terraplane, Sky Road Songs.

Aldon Nielsen

Aldon Nielsen is the Kelley Professor of American Literature at Pennsylvania State University. He earned his B.A. in English from Federal City College (now the University of the District of Columbia) and his M.A. and Ph.D. in American Literature from George Washington University. He has held teaching positions at Howard, San Jose State University, the University of California, and Loyola Marymount University. Nielsen is an acclaimed scholar of 20th century poetry and a published poet. Awards for his work include the Larry Neal Award for poetry; two Gertrude Stein Awards for innovation; the SAMLA Studies Prize, a Myers Citation, and the Kayden Award for best book in the humanities, for Reading Race; Josephine Miles Award, for Integral Music: Languages of African American Innovation and the American Book Award for Don't Deny My Name: Words and Music and the Black Intellectual Tradition. Three of his books, including Black Chant: Languages of African-American Postmodernism are part of the institute’s reading list.

Nicole Hodges Persley

Nicole Hodges Persley is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Kansas. Her research explores the impact of racial and ethnic identity on performance practices in American and European popular culture. Dr. Hodges Persley completed her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Her current book project entitled Sampling and Remixing Blackness in Hip Hop Theater and Performance investigates the influence of American articulations of blackness on the performance practices of non- African American Hip Hop artists in theater, conceptual art and dance working in the United States and England.  Dr. Hodges Persley is affiliated faculty in American Studies and African and African American Studies at KU.  She has published work on Hip-Hop Theater, Jay-Z, Suzan-Lori Parks and Tyler Perry with forthcoming work on Nikki S. Lee, Fredi Washington and Jean Genet.

Eugene B. Redmond

Eugene B. Redmond was named Poet Laureate of East St. Louis (Illinois) in 1976, the year Doubleday Publishing Co. released his best selling book, Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry. Earlier, he spent two years (1967-69) as Teacher-Counselor and Poet-in-Residence at Southern Illinois University’s Experiment in Higher Education (ESL) where he taught with Katherine Dunham. (In 2006 he coordinated the International Memorial Celebration for Miss Dunham.) From 1970-85, he was Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at California State University-Sacramento. During that time he won an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, an Outstanding Faculty Research Award, a Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, and served as a visiting professor at universities in the U.S., Africa, and Europe. In 1986, a year after he returned home to East St. Louis, local authors created the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club in his honor. Author/editor of 25 volumes of poetry, collections of diverse writings, plays for stage and TV, and posthumously published works of Henry Dumas, Redmond read a poem at Maya Angelou’s 70th birthday gala (1998) hosted by Oprah Winfrey. (In April of 2008, his photo exhibit, “Eighty Moods of Maya,” was featured at Angelou’s 80th birthday party in Palm Beach, Florida.) The year 2008 also capped a long line of awards and accolades when he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from SIUE. Additionally, Redmond has won an American Book Award (for The Eye in the Ceiling), the Sterling Brown Award from ALA’s African American Literature and Culture Association, a Staying the Course Award from ETA of Chicago and a the St. Louis American Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Brian Rosenblum

Brian Rosenblum is Associate Librarian for Digital Scholarship at the University of Kansas Libraries, where he has administrative, production and outreach responsibilities in support of a variety of digital initiatives and publishing services. Prior to joining KU Libraries’ digital initiatives program in 2005 he worked at the Scholarly Publishing Office at the University Library, University of Michigan, where he helped develop electronic journals and digital scholarly projects.

Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. She earned a B.A. in English from Northwestern University, a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Duke University. A poet and a scholar, Shockley is the author of four collections of poetry, including a half-red sea (2006) and the new black (2011), and a critical monograph, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (2011). Her writing also appears in numerous journals and anthologies. Her honors include fellowships from ACLS and the Schomburg Center for Research in African Culture; writing residencies from Hedgebrook, MacDowell, and the Millay Colony; and the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize. Her current research concerns representations of "blackness" at the intersection of text and visuality in contemporary narratives of slavery.

J. Edgar Tidwell

John Edgar Tidwell is Professor of English at the University of Kansas. All of his degrees are in English: a B.A. from Washburn University, an M.A. from Creighton University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Tidwell has written widely about African American and American literatures. His scholarship has been crucial to the recovery of poet-journalist Frank Marshall Davis: Livin’ the Blues: Memoirs of a Black Journalist and Poet, Black Moods: Collected Poems, and Writings of Frank Marshall Davis: A Voice of the Black Press. He awaits the Fall 2013 appearance of his seventh book, My Dear Boy: Carrie Hughes’s Letters to Langston Hughes, 1926-1938, with Carmaletta M. Williams. A former Langston Hughes Visiting Professor at KU, he also serves the Kansas Humanities Council as lecturer in its Speakers’ Bureau and a discussant in its Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) program. Professor Tidwell is currently at work on a biography of poet Sterling A. Brown, tentatively titled Oh, Didn't He Ramble: A Life of Sterling A. Brown.

Beth M. Whittaker

Beth Whittaker is the head of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas. She received a B.A. in History and French and an M.A. in History from the University of Kansas, as well as a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin. Before becoming Head of the Spencer Research Library at KU, she was the Head of Special Collections Cataloging at the Ohio State University and a Special Collections Cataloger at Texas A&M University. She is the editor of RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Cultural Heritage and is active in the rare books and manuscripts section of the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Carmaletta Williams

Carmaletta M. Williams is Professor of English and African American Studies at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. She earned Bachelor and Master’s degrees in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas and the Ph. D. in English from the University of Kansas. She has won a number of distinguished teaching awards including the Burlington Northern-Sante Fe Faculty Achievement Award; five Distinguished Service Awards from JCCC; the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Kansas Professor of the Year; and the League for Innovation’s Innovation of the Year award for her videotape entitled, “Sankofa: My Journey Home” about her Fulbright-Hays Award study in Ghana, West Africa. Williams established a faculty exchange between L’Ecole Nationale de Poste et Telecommunications in Guinea, West Africa and JCCC. She also established the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at JCCC. Her scholarly publications include, Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me: Langston Hughes in the Classroom for the National Council of Teachers of English.

Sarah Arbuthnot Lendt, Institute Coordinator

Sarah Arbuthnot Lendt earned her M.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 2007. She has worked as program assistant to the University of Denver's Strategic Issues Program, grantwriter for Van Go Mobile Arts in Lawrence, KS and as the curriculum specialist for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America in Lawrence, KS. Currently she teaches English online for Grantham University. In her years with the Project on the History of Black Writing, she worked as the editorial assistant on the Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel and the Cambridge History of African American Literature and coordinated the NEH-funded program "Language Matters II: Reading and Teaching Toni Morrison." She was grantwriter and program coordinator for "Making the Wright Connection: Reading Native Son, Black Boy and Uncle Tom's Children" and currently serves as institute coordinator for "Don't Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetry," both NEH-funded programs. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and reading. She and her husband welcomed their first child in November 2012.

Brandon Hill, Institute Videographer

Brandon Hill earned his B.G.S. in Film and Media Studies at the University of Kansas in May of 2012. He currently works as a Freelance Video Producer and Videographer in Dallas, TX. In his time spent working with The Project on the History of Black Writing, he has worked alongside the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center as the video content editor and media manager for the HBW's "Look Back Series." This summer he will serve as the Videographer for the NEH-funded program, "Don't Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetry." In his spare time, Brandon enjoys photography as a hobby and playing Ultimate Frisbee - he is a recent alumnus of KU's Club Ultimate Frisbee team, the Horrorzontals.

Kristin Joi Lockridge, Special Projects

Kristin is a PhD English-Creative Writing student at the University of Kansas. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago’s Story Workshop Method with a BA in Fiction Writing, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Kristin’s fiction and poetry have appeared in the SN Review, You Must Be This Tall to Ride, and Psychic Meatloaf literary journals. Her current work includes themes of miscegenation, displaced identity, otherness, migration and diasporas. She also serves as the Assistant Fiction Editor of Beecher’s Magazine. Kristin will provide support for special projects during the summer Institute.

Kenton Rambsy, Technology Assistant

Kenton received his Masters in English from the University of Kansas in May 2012. He is a 2010 Magna Cum-Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College. He finished Morehouse as the top ranking scholar in the English department and received the distinction of being named the 2010 William Pickens Scholar. In 2008, he received a UNCF/Mellon-Mays Fellowship, and in 2009, he received Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Fellowship. Currently, he is a PhD student of African American Literature at the University of Kansas. Kenton will serve as technology assistant for the summer Institute.

Lacey McAfee, Office Assistant

Lacey is currently a senior at KU majoring in Psychology. She is from Caney, a town south east of Kansas. She is HBW's Communication Specialist and has helped with the Language Matters Initiative and the Toni Morrison Society. Lacey will provide office support for the summer Institute.

Jaime Whitt, Institute Graduate Research Assistant

Jaime Whitt currently serves as the Publications Coordinator for HBW, as well as the Graduate Research Assistant for the "Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetry" grant project. She is currently a graduate student at KU, working toward a JD at the law school and a Masters of Healthservices Administration at KU Med. She completed her BA in English and French at KU. Her honor's thesis on Toni Morrison led to her work with Dr. Maryemma Graham and HBW as an undergrad. She worked for HBW as a Project Assistant—first helping out with the Langston Hughes Symposium, then moving on to help with Language Matters I and II. In 2003, Jaime received the Toni Morrison Society President's "Bench by the Road" award for outstanding service to Toni Morrison Society. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, running, and shopping. Also, Jaime has a much-beloved Bob Marley t-shirt collection, which she is always looking to grow!

Goyland Williams, Institute Staff

Goyland serves as a contributor on the HBW Blog. He is a 2009 cum-laude graduate of Texas State University in both Philosophy and Political Science. Currently, he is working on his M.A in African American Studies. His research interests include: black liberation theology, hip hop and performance, and critical theory. Goyland will serve as video assistant for the summer Institute.


Paula C. Barnes

Paula C. Barnes classifies herself a generalist in African American literature; however, most of her work is on twentieth-century women writers of fiction. While she has written on Lucy Terry, Nikki Giovanni, and Lucille Clifton, she considers poetry one of her least-explored frontiers. As a result, she looks forward to being immersed in African American poetry and rubbing shoulders with poets and critics in "Don't Deny My Voice." Currently Associate Professor and Chair of English at Hampton University, Hampton, VA, she teaches the survey course in African American literature.

Zanice Bond

Zanice Bond is an assistant professor of English at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. She earned a B.S. in Communication from Ohio University, an M.A. in English from Tennessee State University, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Kansas. Zanice is also a graduate of Gupton School of Mortuary Science and is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in the state of Tennessee. Her dissertation Race, Place, and Family: The Civil Rights Movement in Brownsville, Tennessee, and the Nation was nominated for four dissertation awards and included an original poem “biography of a new south.”

Michelle Branton

Michelle Branton is the lead instructor for the Reading Department at Garden City Community College in Kansas. In her current position, she teaches hybrid/blended and paired reading courses. Ms. Branton has been with GCCC for two years. Her teaching and research focuses on improving developmental education at the post-secondary level, specifically course design and curriculum that streamlines and accelerates developmental reading for college students. She serves on GCCC’s revitalized Multicultural Committee and serves as the first president of the Kansas Association of Developmental Reading Instructors, which encompasses Kansas’s 19 community colleges and six technical colleges. Before joining the faculty at GCCC, Ms. Branton held professional positions with the Pinellas County School District and St. Petersburg College in Florida. Ms. Branton has been recognized several times as an Outstanding Educator in both Florida and Kansas. She is an active member of the National Association for Developmental Education and has sat on a number of professional and civic boards. Ms. Branton received her Master’s in English Education with Reading Emphasis from the University of South Florida.

Reginald Flood

Reginald Flood is a native of south central Los Angeles who now lives in a small town in southeastern Connecticut with his family. He has a Masters in Creative Writing and Literature from Syracuse University and a PhD in British and American Literature and Culture from the University of Southern California. He has received a Walker Fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Center and was the recipient of the Editor’s Prize from Tidal Basin Review. Recent Publications include Body Parts: Invisibility, Activism and the Poetics of Labor in The History of Mary Prince, The Griot: The Journal of African American Studies, (Spring 2011) and poems in Mythium, Hampton-Sydney Review and African American Review. His first collection of poems Coffle was published by Willow Books last year. He is an associate professor of English and Coordinator of African American Studies at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he teaches composition, African American literature and creative writing. He was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship for Poetry in 2013 and is a Cave Canem fellow.

Deborah Ford

Deborah Ford is a Professor of English at Mississippi Valley State University; she holds a Ph.D. in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Southern Mississippi and master’s degrees from St. John’s College in Santa Fe and Brooklyn College in NYC. Dr. Ford is a poet and teacher. Her poetry combines artwork that she loves and memories that she cherishes. Her interest in art as therapy was sparked by her participation in the NYC Creative Center’s Artist-in-Healthcare training program in 2005. This training focused on a multiplicity of issues encountered in offering artmaking in hospitals and palliative care facilities to patients and their families. Her newest book of poems is A Kind of Heaven: Poems of Vietnam published by the Buffalo Commons Press. She is working on a new project that combines Japanese art with a traditional poetic form called “waka.”

Bro Yao Glover

Bro. Yao (Hoke S. Glover III) is a poet, teacher, and former owner of Karibu Books. His work has centered on issues of literacy and the promotion of reading in the African American and larger community. He is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Bowie State University. His poetry and/or essays have been published in African American Review, Obsidian III, Tidal Basin Review, Smartish Pace, Beltway Quarterly, Specter, Libations, and other journals and anthologies. He has recorded with Black Notes, Sunny Sumter and is currently working with a musician group Free Black Space.

Kamau Kemayo

Kamau’s first love was reading, especially African American fiction and poetry. Though he dabbles in writing both, his real avocation is teaching. He earned degrees from Stanford, UCLA and St Louis University. He has taught at UC-Santa Cruz, Western Illinois, James Madison and is currently tenured at University of Illinois Springfield. Kamau also loves sports as both spectator and participant, though age and bad knees limit the latter. However, he is still competitive, now in board and strategy games. He also enjoys cooking and music. He is a proud father of two: a daughter who is a recent grad of George Mason and his son is a musician who plays keyboards in church and jazz or R&B in other venues.

Shauna Morgan Kirlew

An assistant professor in English at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Shauna Morgan Kirlew is a globalist who researches and teaches literature of the African Diaspora, with a particular focus on womanhood, race, resistance, and the evolution of empire. Shauna received her Ph.D. in English from Georgia State University and will complete a Ph.D. in American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg Universität in Mainz, Germany this year. Her critical work has appeared in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies and Journal of Postcolonial Writing; and she has an essay forthcoming in South Atlantic Review. Her poetry was shortlisted for the 2011 Small Axe Literary Competition, and four of her poems will appear in a special issue of ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics and Consciousness.

Carla Lester

A native of Fayetteville, NC, Ms. Lester holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography from Florida State University, in addition to a MA in Communication Studies-Performance Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An Associate Professor of Speech Communication & Theatre Arts at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Ms. Lester teaches classes in public speaking, gender communication, theatre, oral interpretation of literature, and contemporary dance. She has served as the Artistic Director of the B-CU Orchesis Dance Ensemble since 1996. Ms. Lester serves as an adjunct professor in the Dance Department at Daytona State College, teaching classical ballet, modern, and jazz dance technique, as well as choreographing for the Daytona State Dance Theatre. She is working on the expansion of the dance curriculum for B-CU’s Theatre Arts Program and continues to do research in using the arts particularly dance as part of the worship experience. She has also directed several theatrical productions, in addition to choreographing and performing for the Daytona Beach community.

April Logan

April Logan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Salisbury University. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and a M.A. and Ph.D. in English and Women’s Studies Certificate from Temple University. Her fields are African American Literature and American Literature 1845-1945, Postcolonial Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Theory, Women's Studies, and Performance Studies. She has presented papers on teaching, Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, and Pauline Hopkins at regional and national conferences held by organizations such as the College Language Association, Modern Language Association, and the American Literature Association. April has also been the recipient of several awards: a Multicultural Fellowship from Pennsylvania State University, Abington College; Philadelphia Jobs with Justice’s Building Solidarity Award; and a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Dissertation Fellowship from Haverford College. Currently, she is working on a book project which is a study of mid nineteenth-century to early twentieth-century African American women writers’ performance and theorization of alternative, or queer, genders and sexuality. In addition, April participated in the founding of the Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins Society (PEHS). She has been Parliamentarian of the PEHS since its inception in 2009.

Jeffery Mack

Dr. Jeffery D. Mack is an Associate Professor of English at Albany State University. His research area is 19th Century African American literature, with an emphasis in Masculine Studies. Dr. Mack is the 2013 recipient of the Teacher of the Dream award from the Georgia Council of Teachers of English. Dr. Mack is the chair the Albany State University’s Annual Poetry Festival. And, he is the editor of The Pierian Literary Journal, a creative journal published by the Department English, Modern Languages and Mass Communication at Albany State University.

McKinley E. Melton

McKinley E. Melton received his PhD from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and earned Bachelor's Degrees in English and in African and African-American Studies from Duke University. In the Fall of 2012, he joined the faculty of Gettysburg College as an Assistant Professor of English, having previously taught as Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature at Hampshire College. Dr. Melton's teaching interests are in literatures of Africa and the African Diaspora, most specifically 19th and 20th Century African American Literature. His courses are designed to engage the intersections of social, political, and cultural movements as part of a critical approach to Africana literature. Dr. Melton's research focuses primarily on spiritual and religious traditions throughout the Black diaspora, and the influence of spirituality on diasporan literary, artistic, and cultural expressions. His most recent published work is included in the anthology The Harlem Renaissance Revisited: Politics, Arts, and Letters (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).

Gregg Murray

Gregg Murray is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College. His scholarly work has appeared in a range of outlets, including Continent. and The Chattahoochee Review. He has recent poems in Horse Less Review, DIAGRAM, Caketrain, Interrupture, Ayris, New South, elimae, The Denver Syntax, Mandala, Alice Blue Review, Spittoon, decomP magazinE, LEVELER , [PANK], and forthcoming from RealPoetik and Word For/ Word. Gregg did his Ph.D. in English at the University of Minnesota (A Performative Study of Playfulness in Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Frank O’Hara, and Elizabeth Bishop).

Michelle J. Pinkard

Michelle J. Pinkard recently received the PhD degree in English at Arizona State University. Her scholarship is situated in the intersections of African American, Gender, and Literature studies. While at ASU, her research interests were in Harlem Renaissance’s women’s poetics. She also attended the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. Her poetry has recently been accepted in Callaloo, and The African American Review; her essays, short stories and poems have appeared in several anthologies. She is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Tennessee State University.

Erin Ranft

Erin Ranft received her doctorate from the University of Texas at San Antonio in May 2013. She teaches a range of courses at the University of Texas at San Antonio, including African American Studies: Modes of Expression, Introduction to Women's Studies, Women and Literature, Literary Criticism and Analysis, and more. Her research and teaching interests include African American science fiction, particularly productions by feminist African American authors such as Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson. Additionally, Erin’s teaching and scholarly foci include American literature by women of color, US women’s studies, archival research related to the late author and theorist Gloria Anzaldúa, as well as the Black Panther Party’s Intercommuncal News Service publications.

Christopher Rose

Christopher Rose is full time Instructor of English and Composition at Portland Community College. He received a BA in English at the University of Washington, and BA in Creative Writing and Sociology at Central Washington University, and a MA in English Literature at Central Washington University. Previously, he worked as the Project Facilitator for the TRiO/Student Support Services program at Portland State University.

Sarah RudeWalker

Sarah RudeWalker is a PhD candidate in the English Department at Penn State University with a concentration in African American Language and Literature. She received her BA in English and Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia and her MA in English from Penn State University. While at Penn State, she has been both a University Graduate Fellow and a Dissertation Fellow with the university's Center for Democratic Deliberation. Her research focuses on rhetorical criticism of Black Arts Movement poetry of the 1960s and 1970, examining the successful rhetorical legacies of poets in educating the public about the power of Black consciousness. She will have defended her dissertation the week before attending the Don't Deny My Voice Institute.

Matt Schumacher

Matt Schumacher teaches writing and literature courses for Eastern Oregon University and Portland Community College. A former graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, the University of Maine, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he has published two full-length poetry collections, Spilling the Moon and The Fire Diaries, and serves as poetry editor for a journal named Phantom Drift. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Arlette Miller Smith

Arlette Miller Smith, a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, is the founding and immediate past Dean of St. John Fisher’s Office of Multicultural Affairs & Diversity Programs. Miller Smith’s academic work and avocation center on the following areas: African American literature & culture; the intersection of the raced, gendered, classed, and artistic voice of African American women; the written production of 19th century African American women writers; the mobilization of socio-political movements in African American life, particularly the colored club women’s movement and the modern civil rights movement; and the impact of the exterior (public) life on the interior lives of African American women, as well as the divergent convergence of the experiences and African American and White suffragists. Featured on NPR, CNN and Rochester’s D&C, Arlette’s poem, “In Anticipation of You” is the first selection in Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady. Miller Smith received her undergraduate degree in English from Tougaloo College; her Master’s degree in English from Michigan State University; and her doctorate in American Studies from SUNY-Buffalo. Miller Smith also is the founder and executive-artistic director of AKOMA, Rochester’s African American Women’s gospel choir whose 45 member sister-roster attend various local denominations.

Lorrie Smith

Lorrie Smith studied at the University of Massachusetts and Brown University. She is Professor of English at Saint Michael’s College, in Colchester, Vermont, where she directs the American Studies Program and teaches a wide range of courses, including a seminar on Literature, Blues and Jazz; a survey of The Musical Roots of African American Literature; and The Harlem Renaissance. In addition, she teaches a first-year seminar entitled Beloved Community, an introductory seminar on The Spoken Word, and an upper-level course on Representing Race in ‘Post-Racial’ American Literature and Culture. She has led three study tours of Ghana in conjunction with her course, The Middle Passage in History, Memory, and Imagination. Her most recent publications are “Black Arts to Def Jam: Performing Black Spirit Work Across Generations” (New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement, ed. Lisa Gail Collins and Margo Crawford) and “Hungry Ghosts and Restless Spirits: Lyric Voices of the Middle Passage” (Africa and Its Diasporas: History, Memory, and Literary Manifestations, ed.Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Paul E. Lovejoy, and David V. Trotman). She is currently working on a book-length manuscript, Report from Vernacular Valleys: Post-Sixties Black Poetry and the Public Sphere and a memoir on being a white teacher of black texts. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she can date herself with the claim to fame that Bruce Springsteen played at her prom.

Althea Tait

Dr. Althea Tait serves as Visiting Assistant Professor in Africana Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Her research interests, which revolve around Black Women’s Studies, literature and poetry by and about black women, and popular culture, are closely aligned with her community service in local battered women’s shelters. Her publications include “The Harm in Beauty: Toni Morrison’s Revision of Racialized Traditional Theories of Aesthetics in The Bluest Eye” and “Tell Them: The Premise for African American Female Writers’ Children’s Literature.” She is currently working on the completion of the manuscript, The Soul of Beauty: Toni Morrison and Cultural Perspectives of Black Women. The premise of the book focuses on the ways in which Toni Morrison examines the souls of black women as it pertains to the struggle with racialized and injurious beauty norms.

Carol Tyx

Carol Tyx teaches creative writing and a variety of American literature courses at Mt. Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She also collaborates with her students to run a book club at a nearby prison. An essay about her experiences in the prison is forthcoming in an MLA book on service learning in English courses. The club hasn’t done much with poetry yet—she hoping to lead the way with African American poetry after the institute. Carol writes poetry, too; her second collection, Rising to the Rim, will be published in June. An eager, though erratic, gardener and Community Supported Agriculture volunteer, Carol consumes a lot of kale and Swiss chard. To round out her life, Carol contra dances, practices yoga, hikes, and stays in touch with her two thirty-something sons.

Frank X Walker

2013-2014 Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker is an associate professor in the dept of English at the University of Kentucky were he also serves as director of African American and Africana studies and the founding editor of Pluck! The journal of Affrilachian arts and culture. His sixth collection of poetry, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers is forthcoming in the spring from the University of Georgia Press. Voted one of the most creative professors in the south, he is the originator of the word, Affrilachia, and is dedicated to deconstructing and forcing a new definition of what it means to be Appalachian. The Lannan Poetry Fellowship Award recipient has degrees from UK and Spalding University as well as two honorary doctorates from the University of KY and Transylvania.

Jeff Westover

Jeff Westover is an Associate Professor at Boise State University, where he teaches literature. His publications include The Colonial Moment: Discoveries and Settlements in Modern American Poetry (Northern Illinois University Press, 2004) and, more recently, articles on Langston Hughes, Lorine Niedecker, and Wallace Stevens.

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni is an American poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. She earned her B.A. in History at Fisk University. Her primary focus is on the individual and the power one has to make a difference in oneself and in the lives of others. Giovanni’s poetry expresses strong racial pride, respect for family, and her own experiences as a daughter, a civil rights activist, and a mother. Many of Giovanni's books have received honors and awards: Love Poems, Blues: For All the Changes, Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea, Acolytes, and Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat were all honored with NAACP Image Awards. Blues: For All the Changes reached #4 on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller list, a rare achievement for a book of poems. Most recently, her children's picture book Rosa, about the civil rights legend Rosa Parks, became a Caldecott Honors Book, and Bryan Collier, the illustrator, was given the Coretta Scott King award for best illustration. Rosa also reached #3 on The New York Times Bestseller list. Shortly after its release, Bicycles: Love Poems reached #1 on for Poetry and won the NAACP Image Award. Her autobiography, Gemini, was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is currently a University Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This webinar was moderated by Professor Opal Moore.

C. Liegh McInnis

C. Liegh McInnis is an instructor of English at Jackson State University, the publisher and editor of Black Magnolias Literary Journal, the author of seven books, including four collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, and one work of literary criticism. He was the 2012 First Runner-Up of the Amiri Baraka/Sonia Sanchez Poetry Award sponsored by North Carolina State A&T. In January of 2009, C. Liegh, along with eight other poets, was invited to read poetry in Washington, DC by the NAACP for their Inaugural Poetry Reading celebrating the election of President Barack Obama. He has also been invited by colleges and libraries all over the country to read his poetry and fiction and to lecture on various topics, such as creative writing and various aspects of African American literature, music, and history.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

This webinar was moderated by Professor Maryemma Graham.

Brenda Marie Osbey

Brenda Marie Osbey is an author of poetry and of prose non-fiction in English and French. Her most recent volume is History & Other Poems (Time Being Books, 2012). Studies of her work appear in such reference works as Contemporary Authors (Gale, 2002), Oxford Companion to African American Literature (Oxford, 1997), and the Dictionary of Literary Biography (Gale, 1992), and in such critical texts as Forms of Expansion: Recent Long Poems by Women by Lynn Keller (University of Chicago Press, 1997), The Future of Southern Letters, edited by Jefferson Humphries and John Lowe (Oxford, 1996) and Southscapes: Geographies of Race, Region, & Literature by Thadious M. Davis (University of North Carolina Press, 2011). From 2005—2007, she served as the first peer-selected Poet Laureate of the State of Louisiana. During tenure as laureate, she toured the United States presenting readings, lectures and open discussions advocating the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region of the United States in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Friday, November 15, 2013

This webinar was moderated by Professor Sarah RudeWalker.

Ishmael Reed

Ishmael Reed is a poet, essayist, playwright and novelist. Reed is known for his satirical works challenging American political culture, and highlighting political and cultural oppression. Reed's work has often sought to represent neglected African and African-American perspectives. His energy and advocacy have centered more broadly on neglected peoples and perspectives, irrespective of their cultural origins. Reed received his B.A. in American Studies from the University of Buffalo. Recently he was the Visiting Writer at California College of the Arts and also currently heads the Ishmael Reed Publishing Company. In 2005, Reed retired from teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for thirty-five years. His archives are located in Special Collections at the University of Delaware in Newark. Ishmael Reed made an appearance as a plenary speaker at the 2008 & NOW Festival, which took place at Chapman University.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This webinar was moderated by Professor McKinley E. Melton.

Terrance Hayes

Terrance Hayes is the 2010 recipient of the National Book Award in poetry. His most recent collection is Lighthead. His other books are Wind in a Box, Muscular Music, and Hip Logic. His honors include four Best American Poetry selections, a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Carnegie Mellon University and lives in Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This webinar was moderated by Professor Althea Tait.

Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Domestic Work (2000), Bellocq's Ophelia (2002), and Native Guard (2006), for which she was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. She is also the author of a book of creative non-fiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2010). She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. During the 2005-2006 academic year she was Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and in 2009 she was the James Weldon Johnson Fellow in African American Studies at the Beinecke Library at Yale University. Trethewey is also the recipient of the 2008 Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and was named the 2008 Georgia Woman of the Year. In 2009 she was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and in 2011 was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the state of Mississippi and the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States. Her fourth collection of poetry, Thrall, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in August 2012.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

This webinar was moderated by Professor Zanice Bond.