Thursday, April 5, 2012
720 Records in Lawrenceville
8:30-10:30 PM
free and open to the public

It is spring. Officially. Some of us, if we find ourselves in The Academy (note the fancy caps), are plodding through its beauty waiting for summer. Sometimes, while we’re waiting, we teach and write about pressing contemporary questions regarding “identity”–or what it means to be a racially marked being, a gendered being, a person “belonging” to a certain nation, a person with a certain claim of sexual orientation. And then there are these realities–the need to write an email to a friend after witnessing some white boys on a train laughing while pointing to a black woman and, next to that, an image of a baboon; there’s the Trayvon Martin tragedy; and the impossibly violent hate crime against Shaima Alawadi, the Iraqi woman who was beaten to death in California. To summarize the poet Cornelius Eady, these things have happened so many times, they make some of us exhausted. How is it possible to speak into and against these acts? What is there left to say that matters?

Three poets offer possibilities for speaking into our contemporary moment that teach us, perhaps, that the languages of poetry in their disparate soundings can enact kinds of utterance that do more than simply witness.

Please join POETRY ((PRO) (FANA)) for an evening with poets Evie Shockley, Yona Harvey, and Lauren Russell who will read from their work.

Evie Shockley is the author of two books of poetry, the new black (Wesleyan UP, 2011) and a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006), and two chapbooks, 31 words  *  prose poems (Belladonna* Books, 2007) and The Gorgon Goddess (Carolina Wren Press, 2001). Her poems also appear and are forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Nation, TriQuarterly Online, qarrtsiluni, Talisman, Iron Horse Review, Indiana Review, The Southern Review, esque, Columbia Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Hambone, Callaloo, No Tell Motel, Harvard Review, HOW2, nocturnes (re)view, Achiote Seeds, Tuesday; An Art Project, Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS from the African DiasporaBlack Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, and Home is Where: An Anthology of African American Poets from the Carolinas. From 2007-2011, she co-edited jubilat; in 2007, she guest-edited a special issue of MiPOesias (called “~QUEST~”) that features contemporary African American poets.  Shockley currently serves as a contributing editor to Evening Will Come, a monthly journal of poetics. She is Associate Professor of African American literature and creative writing at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Yona Harvey is an Assistant Teaching Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Carnegie Mellon University.  She has a Master of Fine Arts as well as Master of Library and Information Science degree. She finds that her experiences in archives and information science, as a writer in the schools, and as a collaborator with other artists all inform her work as an emerging poet. Using non-poetry texts to read and compose poetry is also of interest to her: music reviews, fashion magazines, grammar primers, and cookbooks are all fair game.  She is constantly searching for new audio archives and rare recordings in poetry, which are becoming more accessible on The Internet.  Her first poetry collection, Hemming the Water, is forthcoming from Four Way Books.

Lauren Russell is the author of the chapbooks Dream-Clung, Gone (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012) and The Empty-Handed Messenger (Goodbye Better, 2009). Her poems and reviews have appeared in various places, including Eleven Eleven, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Harp & Altar, Lyre Lyre, Boog City, The Recluse, and Van Gogh’s Ear. She is an M.F.A. student at the University of Pittsburgh and counts the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, AmeriCorps*NCCC, and Goddard College among her alma maters.