Race and Poetry Symposium

Two Sarah Lawrence College writing faculty members are hosting a day-long symposium on March 31 to celebrate the diverse voices of poets writing in the new century. The lineup of readings, panel discussions, and student discussion sessions, features eight guest poets including Roger Sedarat, Tracy K. Smith and Ravi Shankar, as well as faculty poets Cathy Park Hong, Thomas Sayers Ellis and Vijay Seshadri. All events will be held in the Heimbold Auditorium. For more information please call (914) 395-2412.

“The Race & Poetry Symposium will highlight and explore poetry that addresses culture, ethnicity, language, dislocation, education, image and self-perception,” says curator and co-host, Jeffrey McDaniel.

In addition to reading, guest poets Sean Thomas Dougherty, Eric Gamalinda, Paisley Rekdal Roger Sedarat, Ravi Shankar, Patricia Smith, Tracy K. Smith and Edwin Torres will participate in two panel discussions. “Excavating the Muse” will focus on how writers address the complexities, challenges, and joys associated with writing across race and culture. In “A Public Presence,” writers discuss how they’ve formed new communities and participated in movements that have shaped the American writing landscape as well as how they began getting their work into the world.

The Symposium is sponsored by the Dean of the College’s Office, The President’s Office, The Diane Leslie Fund, and Student Affairs.

Program Race & Poetry Symposium: Writing the American Landscape

Saturday, March 31 2007
Heimbold Visual Arts Center
Sarah Lawrence College

Attendance is free.

12:00 - 1:00 Reading with Ravi Shankar, Patricia Smith, Tracy K. Smith, Edwin Torres

1:15 - 2:15 Panel on “Excavating the Muse” with Sean Thomas Dougherty, Eric Gamalinda, Cathy Park Hong, Vijay Seshadri, Tracy K. Smith, Edwin Torres

2:30 - 3:30 Reading with Sean Thomas Dougherty, Eric Gamalinda, Paisley Rekdal, Roger Sedarat

3:45 - 4:45 Panel on “A Public Presence” with Thomas Sayers Ellis, Paisley Rekdal, Roger Sedarat, Ravi Shankar, Patricia Smith

5:00 - 5:45 Breakout sessions led by Sarah Lawrence faculty

6:00 Dinner break

8:00 - 9:30 Rapid-fire reading featuring guest poets and Sarah Lawrence faculty

Background on the guest poets:

Sean Thomas Dougherty is the author of nine books, including the forthcoming Broken Hallelujahs (BOA Editions).
Eric Gamalinda is the author of Zero Gravity, which won the Asian American Literary Award in 2000. His new poetry colletion, Amigo Warfare, is due out this spring.
Paisley Rekdal is the author of The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, A Crash of Rhinos, and Six Girls Without Pants, and a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee.
Roger Sedarat's family immigrated to America from Shiraz, Iran. His poetry manuscript, Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, will be published in 2008 with Ohio University Press.
Ravi Shankar is the author of Instrumentality and founding editor of the international online journal of the arts, www.drunkenboat.com. He is currently co-editing an anthology of contemporary Asian and Arab poetry (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008).
Patricia Smith is the author of four books of poetry, including The Teahouse of the Almighty, winner of the National Poetry Series. She is the author of Africans in America, a companion book to the PBS special of the same name.
Tracy K. Smith is the author of The Body's Question, winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and published in 2003 (Graywolf Press). Her second collection, Duende, received the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets and will be published by Graywolf in spring 2007.
Edwin Torres is the author of a number of books, including The All-Union Day of the Shock Worker (Roof Books) and Fractured Humorous, and Holy Kid, a CD released by Kill Rock Stars.