Poetry and the Senses
Program Launch | Readings and Conversation
Featuring Indira Allegra, Chiyuma Elliott, and Robert Hass
Thursday, October 10, 2019
5:30-7:00pm, Reception 7:00-7:30pm
Morrison Library, UC Berkeley
The launch party for our “Poetry and the Senses” program sponsored by the Engaging the Senses Foundation, this event will include local poets Indira Allegra, Chiyuma Elliott, and Robert Hass, who will offer readings and comments followed by a conversation. How does poetry offer a model for engaging the world, and how can we think of it as a political or ethical resource?
Indira Allegra is re-imagining what a memorial can feel like, the scale on which it can exist and how it can function through the practice of writing, performance, sculpture and installation. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at The Arts Incubator in Chicago, John Michael Kholer Art Center, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Center for Craft Creativity and Design, Mills College Art Museum, Weinberg/Newton, 808 Gallery, The Alice Gallery and SOMArts among others. Her commissions include performances for SFMOMA, de Young Museum, The Wattis Institute, City of Oakland and SFJAZZ Poetry Festival. Allegra’s work has been featured by BBC Radio 4, Art Journal, KQED and Surface Design Magazine. She was the recipient of the Artadia Award, Tosa Studio Award, Windgate Craft Fellowship and Jackson Literary Award and has received support from the Mike Kelley Artist Project Grant, MAP Fund and Queer Cultural Center. Allegra is a former Lambda Literary Fellow, her writing has been widely anthologized, and she has contributed works to 2019 Lambda Literary Finalist Foglifter Magazine, 2012 Lambda Literary Finalist Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two Spirit Literature, Canal Magazine, Cream City Review, HYSTERIA Magazine, make/shift Magazine, and Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought among others.
Chiyuma Elliott is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. A former Stegner Fellow, Chiyuma’s poems have appeared in the African American Review, Callaloo, the Notre Dame Review, the PN Review, and other journals. She has received fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, Cave Canem, and the Vermont Studio Center. She is the author of two books: California Winter League (2015) and Vigil (2017).
Robert Hass (United States Poet Laureate (1995-1997); National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet, Environmentalist, and Teacher) is a poet of great eloquence, clarity, and force, whose work is rooted in the landscapes of his native Northern California. Widely read and much honored, he has brought the kind of energy in his poetry to his work as an essayist, translator, and activist on behalf of poetry, literacy, and the environment. Most notably, in his tenure as US Poet Laureate (1995-1997), Robert Hass spent two years battling American illiteracy, armed with the mantra, “imagination makes communities.”
Robert Hass has published many books of poetry including Field Guide, Praise, Human Wishes, Sun Under Wood, and The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems. His collection of poems entitled Time and Materials won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He has also written books of essays including A Little Book on Form: An Exploration Into the Formal Imagination of Poetry, and What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World, which received the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Hass translated many of the works of Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz, and he has edited numerous books including Best American Poetry and Modernist Women Poets: An Anthology (with Paul Ebenkamp). His next book will be Summer Snow: New Poems (Ecco, January 7, 2020).
As US Poet Laureate (1995-1997), his deep commitment to environmental issues led him to found River of Words (ROW), an organization that promotes environmental and arts education in affiliation with the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Robert Hass was chosen Educator of the Year by the North American Association on Environmental Education and, in 2005, was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, twice the National Book Critics’ Circle Award (in 1984 and 1997), the Yale Series of Younger Poets in 1973, and the 2014 Wallace Stevens Award, Robert Hass is a professor of English at UC Berkeley.
Support for the “Poetry and the Senses” program is provided by the Engaging the Senses Foundation