Two powerful poets read from their work and discuss how poetry can become an active tool for rethinking race in America. Robin Coste Lewis reads from her upcoming poetry collection, Voyage of the Sable Venus , which lyrically catalogs representations of the black figure in the fine arts, with Claudia Rankine a poet whose incendiary new book, Citizen: An American Lyric is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our often named “post-racial” society.
Robin Coste Lewis
Robin Coste Lewis is a Provost’s Fellow in Poetry and Visual Studies at USC. A Cave Canem fellow, she received her MFA from NYU, and an MTS in Sanskrit from Harvard’s Divinity School. A finalist for the International War Poetry Prize, the National Rita Dove Prize, and the Discovery Prize, her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. She has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, Hampshire College and the NYU/MFA in Paris. Born in Compton, her family is from New Orleans. Her book of poems, Voyage of the Sable Venus, is forthcoming from Knopf.
Claudia Rankine , is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including The White Card, which premiered in February 2018 (ArtsEmerson/ American Repertory Theater) was published with Graywolf Press in 2019, and Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; as well as numerous video collaborations. Her next publication, Just Us: An American Conversation, is a collection of essays forthcoming with Graywolf Press in 2020. She is also the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. In 2016, she co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
Maggie Nelson is a poet, critic, and nonfiction author of several books including The Argonauts, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism and a New York Times Best Seller; The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial; The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning; Bluets; and Jane: A Murder. She teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts and lives in Los Angeles, California.
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