Saturday, February 5th, 1:30 pm
Mariott Wardman Park, Marriott Ballroom, Lobby Level
Undivided: Poet as Public Citizen
Sponsored by Split This Rock Poetry Festival
With: Melissa Tuckey, Toi Derricotte, Martín Espada, Carolyn Forché, Mark Nowak
Split This Rock celebrates poetry of provocation and witness and the role of poet as public citizen. In a time of multiple wars, economic, social, and environmental crises, this panel will discuss the role of poets and poetry in public life. Shelley described the poet as "unacknowledged legislator." What does this mean in the age of Fox News and corporate lobbyists? What are some of the ways that poets are engaging with the larger public in the United States and abroad? Who are the models for this work? How might we begin to think of ourselves as undivided: both citizen and poet?
Melissa Tuckey is a poet, activist, and translator. She’s author of /Rope as Witness/ (chapbook: Pudding house) and has received numerous awards for her work, including a Fine Arts Work Center fellowship.She’s a co-founder of Split This Rock, and currently lives in Ithaca, New York.
Toi Derricotte earned her B.A. in special education from Wayne State University and her M.A. in English literature from New York University. Her books of poetry include Tender (1997) which won the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize; Captivity (1989); Natural Birth (1983); and The Empress of the Death House (1978). She is also the author of a literary memoir, The Black Notebooks (W.W. Norton, 1997), which won the 1998 Annisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction.
Martín Espada has published seventeen books in all as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. The Republic of Poetry, a collection of poems published by Norton in 2006, received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; his next collection, The Trouble Ball, is forthcoming from Norton in spring 2011. A former tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Carolyn Forché is the author of four books of poetry: Blue Hour (HarperCollins, 2004); The Angel of History (1994), which received the Los Angeles Times Book Award; The Country Between Us (1982), which received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was the Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets; and Gathering the Tribes (1976), which was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets by Stanley Kunitz. Her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.. Carolyn Forché teaches in the MFA Program at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Mark Nowak is a documentary poet, social critic, and labor activist, whose writings include Shut Up Shut Down (afterword by Amiri Baraka), a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” and the recently published book on coal mining disasters in the US and China, Coal Mountain Elementary (2009), that Howard Zinn has called “a stunning educational tool.”