Detroit Roots: A reading featuring Tarfia Faizullah, Vievee Francis, and Matthew Olzmann
in conversation with Chiyuma Elliott & Jesse Nathan
Thursday, April 28, 2022, from 5:30 – 7pm PST
Location: Doe Library Room 308A, UC Berkeley
Watch the recorded video of the event on ARC’s YouTube channel here!
This event is presented in celebration of National Poetry Month by the Arts Research Center in partnership with Engaging the Senses Foundation, and co-sponsored by the Departments of English and Ethnic Studies, the Program in Critical Theory, and The Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies.
Tarfia Faizullah is the author of two poetry collections, REGISTERS OF ILLUMINATED VILLAGES (Graywolf, 2018) and SEAM (SIU, 2014). Tarfia’s writing appears widely in the U.S. and abroad in the Daily Star, Hindu Business Line, BuzzFeed, PBS News Hour, Huffington Post, Poetry Magazine, Ms. Magazine, the Academy of American Poets, Oxford American, the New Republic, the Nation, Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket, 2019), and has been displayed at the Smithsonian, the Rubin Museum of Art, and elsewhere. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, three Pushcart prizes, and other honors, Tarfia presents work at institutions and organizations worldwide, and has been featured at the the Liberation War Museum of Bangladesh, the Library of Congress, the Fulbright Conference, the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, the Radcliffe Seminars, NYU, Barnard, UC Berkeley, the Poetry Foundation, the Clinton School of Public Service, Brac University, and elsewhere. Tarfia’s writing is translated into Bengali, Persian, Chinese, and Tamil, and is part of the theater production Birangona: Women of War. Tarfia’s collaborations include photographers, producers, composers, filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists, resulting in several interdisciplinary projects, including an EP, Eat More Mango. In 2016, Tarfia was recognized by Harvard Law School as one of 50 Women Inspiring Change, and is a 2019 USA Artists Fellow. Born in Brooklyn, NY to Bangladeshi immigrants and raised in Texas, Tarfia currently lives in Dallas.
Vievee Francis is the author of The Shared World, which is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press; Forest Primeval (TriQuarterly Books, 2015), winner of the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award; Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012), winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize; and Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006). Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, textbooks, and anthologies, including Poetry, Best American Poetry 2010, 2014, 2017, 2019, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She has been a participant in the Cave Canem Workshops, a Poet-in-Residence for the Alice Lloyd Scholars Program at the University of Michigan, and teaches poetry writing in the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop (USA, UK, and Barbados). In 2009 she received a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and in 2010, a Kresge Fellowship. She is the recipient of the 2021 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry. Discussing the role of poetry in her life with Ms. Magazine, Francis noted, “In my life poetry does not provide “healing” but it does allow for expression and it markedly demonstrates that I cannot be silenced. I explore my interior and I relate it. Black women aren’t encouraged to do that. We are encouraged, even among progressives, to tow certain lines. My eccentricities don’t allow for that.” Born in West Texas, she earned an MFA from the University of Michigan in 2009. She serves as an associate editor of Callaloo and an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
Matthew Olzmann is the author of Constellation Route (forthcoming in January 2022 from Alice James Books) as well as two previous collections of poetry: Mezzanines (selected for the 2011 Kundiman Prize) and Contradictions in the Design. A recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, MacDowell, and the National Endowment for the Arts, Olzmann’s work has appeared in Best American Poetry, The New York Times, the Pushcart Prizes, Kenyon Review, New England Review and elsewhere. He is a Senior Lecturer of Creative Writing at Dartmouth College and also teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Chiyuma Elliott is Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarly work and teaching focus on poetry and poetics, African American literature, intellectual history from the 1920s to the present, and Black Geography/Cultural Geography. Before joining the Berkeley faculty, Elliott was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, and Assistant Professor of English, Creative Writing, and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the American Philosophical Society, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Vermont Studio Center. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
Jesse Nathan’s poems appear in the Paris Review, Kenyon Review, The Nation, FENCE, The Yale Review, Harvard Review, and American Poetry Review. His translations of Alfonsina Storni and Brenda Solís-Fong in Mantis and Poetry International. Nathan was born in Berkeley, where he lived until he was ten; he spent the second half of his childhood on a wheat farm in rural Kansas. Nathan moved to San Francisco after college, in part to take a position at McSweeney’s. His work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ashbery Home School, Bread Loaf, and the Community of Writers. He lives now in Oakland and is a lecturer in the English Department at UC Berkeley. Nathan is also a 2021/2022 ARC Poetry and the Senses Fellow.