Virtual Seminars

During the Fall of 2013 we hosted a series of live, online discussions with a prominent group of intergenerational award winning poets, to include Nikki Giovanni, Terrance Hayes, Liegh McInnis, Brenda Marie Osbey, Ishmael Reed and Natasha Trethewey. Members of the general public and students of all levels were invited to join us.

Nikki Giovanni

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 Amazon.com 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 16th, 2013

Professor Opal Moore moderated this Virtual Seminar.

C. Liegh McInnis

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

Professor Maryemma Graham moderated this Virtual Seminar.

Brenda Marie Osbey

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 15th, 2013

Professor Sarah RudeWalker moderated this Virtual Seminar.

Ishmael Reed

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 19th, 2013

Professor McKinley E. Melton moderated this Virtual Seminar.

Terrance Hayes

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

Professor Althea Tait moderated this Virtual Seminar.

Natasha Trethewey

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 4th, 2013

Professor Zanice Bond moderated this Virtual Seminar.