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KU webinar series features prominent poets

Thursday, October 22, 2015

LAWRENCE – A webinar series hosted by the Project on the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas will allow the public to hear firsthand from a prominent group of intergenerational, award-winning poets on their creative process.

The webinar series is part of a summer institute, Black Poetry after the Black Arts Movement, sponsored by the Project on the History of Black Writing with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The title refers to the artistic movement that accompanied the Black Power Movement of the 1960s and the poetry produced since.

The public is invited to register to participate in the webinars. Additionally, recordings of the webinars will be available online following each session.

The upcoming webinar features Sharan Strange. Strange is the author of “Ash,” which was selected by Sonia Sanchez for the Barnard New Women Poets Prize. Her poems have been anthologized in Best American Poetry, In Search of Color Everywhere: A Collection of African-American Poetry and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth-Century African-American Poetry. She is a recipient of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Award, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Co-founder of the Dark Room Poetry Collective in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she is currently an English professor at Spelman College.

The webinar with  Strange will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. It will be moderated by Laura Vrana, one of the NEH scholars participating in the summer poetry institute and doctoral candidate at Penn State University. Registration is required and available at the Black Poetry After the Black Arts Movement institute website.

A group of 25 college and university teachers from across the U.S. was selected to participate in the two-week summer institute on KU’s campus. Several of the institute participants will moderate webinars.

The remaining webinars are listed below. All times are in central standard time.

Nikky Finney, 2 p.m. Nov. 11 

Finney is winner of the National Book Award, PEN America Open Book Award and Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry; John H. Bennett, Jr. Professor in Southern Letters and Literature at University of South Carolina.

This webinar will be moderated by Monifa Love Asante, NEH Summer Scholar professor of English at Bowie State University, Maryland.


Jericho Brown, 2 p.m. Nov. 17 

Brown is winner of the American Book Award, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, recipient of several fellowships; associate professor in English and creative writing at Emory University.

This webinar will be moderated by Claire Schwartz, NEH Summer Scholar; doctoral candidate at Yale.


Jessica Care Moore, 4 p.m. Nov. 19

Moore makes frequent media appearances, is a five-time winner of the “It’s Showtime at The Apollo” competition, has been featured on albums by Nas and Talib Kweli, is CEO of Moore Black Press, executive producer of Black WOMEN Rock! and founder of the literacy-driven Jess Care Moore Foundation. She lives, writes and plays in downtown Detroit.

This webinar will be moderated by Derik Smith, NEH Summer Scholar; assistant professor of English at the University of Albany, New York.


Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m.

Tallie is author of two books of poetry, poetry editor of African Voices literary magazine, has been published in several literary magazines and was the subject of a short film. She has taught at City University of New York, York College and Medgar Evers College.

This webinar will be moderated by Tara Betts, NEH Summer Scholar; Binghamton University, New York.


Sonia Sanchez, Dec. 3 at 1 p.m.

Sanchez is a central figure in the Black Arts movement who has authored 16 books of poetry and plays. She is a recipient of several awards, including the American Book Award, the Frost Medal and a National Endowment for the Arts Award. She was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University and held the Laura Carnell Chair in English until her retirement in 1999.

This webinar will be moderated by Evie Shockley, NEH Institute faculty; associate professor of English at Rutgers University.


Nathaniel Mackey, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m.

Mackey is a poet, editor, publisher and critic; he won the National Book Award and other honors from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, as well as the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and the 2015 Bollingen Prize. He’s served as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and taught for many years at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is currently the Reynolds Price Professor of Creative Writing at Duke University.

This webinar will be moderated by J. Peter Moore, NEH Summer Scholar; doctoral candidate at Duke University.

The first webinar of the series, featuring Kwame Dawes, took place in September. Dawes is a widely anthologized poet who has received the Forward Prize for Poetry, a Puschart Prize and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, among several other honors. The session was moderated by Maryemma Graham, distinguished professor of English at KU. The recording is available on the webinar registration page.

Black Poetry after the Black Arts Movement is the 15th publicly funded project sponsored by the The Project on the History of Black Writing, founded and directed by Graham. For more than 30 years, HBW has been engaged in researching and recovering black writers and their works, most often with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is located in the Department of English, a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at KU.