Celebrating Cave Canem: Cornelius Eady with Morgan Parker & Cameron Awkward-Rich
in conversation with Chiyuma Elliott & Vincente Perez
Wednesday, October 20th 2021, from 5:00 – 6:30pm PST
Watch the captioned livestream on YouTube here.
A review of the event can be found here.
This event is presented by the Arts Research Center in partnership with Engaging the Senses Foundation, and co-sponsored by the departments of African American Studies, American Studies, Black Geographies, and English
On October 20th, at 5pm pacific, we’ll welcome poet and Cave Canem co-founder Cornelius Eady (author of Hardheaded Weather) to the ARC virtual stage, along with two emerging poets who’ve benefitted from his teaching and mentorship in the Cave Canem Black artists collective: Morgan Parker (author of Magical Negro) and Cameron Awkward Rich (author of Dispatch). Cave Canem is celebrating their 25th year of being North America’s premier home for Black poetry. Following their readings, these poets will be in conversation with ARC’s Acting Director Chiyuma Elliott and fall 2021 Poetry & the Senses fellow Vincente Perez. This event is part of ARC’s Poetry and the Senses initiative generously sponsored by Engaging the Senses Foundation.
Cornelius Eady is the author of several books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Hardheaded Weather, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets, The Gathering of My Name, which was nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize, and his most recent collection The War Against the Obvious. With poet Toi Derricote, Eady is cofounder of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy, and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award. In fall 2021, Eady became Chair of Excellence in Poetry at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Morgan Parker’s visceral and provocative poetry has been heralded as “a riveting testimony to everyday blackness.” Audacious and essential, her work electrifies audiences and has been awarded with a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship. “Ignore Ms. Parker at your peril,” acclaimed poet Patricia Smith warns, and we second the sentiment. Grappling with the complications and considerations of contemporary black womanhood, pop culture, and personal history, Morgan’s poetry collections include There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night, and her latest, Magical Negro, for which she was the recipient of a 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also the author of the young adult novel, Who Put This Song On?, which is loosely based on Morgan’s own teenage life and diaries. Morgan is the creator and host of the live talk show Reparations, Live! at the Ace Hotel and co-curates the Poets with Attitude (PWA) reading series. Her work has been awarded with a Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from Cave Canem. Morgan lives in Los Angeles with her dog Shirley and is currently at work on her forthcoming book of nonfiction.
Cameron Awkward-Rich is a black, trans writer & educator, currently living in Northampton, MA. His first collection of poetry, Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016), was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. His second collection, Dispatch, was the winner of the 2018 Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice award & was published by Persea Books in December, 2019. Cam’s writing has appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, Paris Review, Transgender Studies Quarterly, & elsewhere. His work, both critical & creative, has been supported by fellowships from Cave Canem, The Watering Hole, ACLS, & Duke University. Presently, he is an assistant professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he teaches courses in trans studies, queer/feminist theory, & writing.
Chiyuma Elliott is the Arts Research Center’s Acting Director for fall 2021, and an Associate Professor of African American Studies at UC Berkeley. Her scholarly work focuses on poetry and the Harlem Renaissance. 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 three books of poetry: At Most (2020), Vigil (2017), and California Winter League (2015). Her fourth poetry collection, Blue in Green, is forthcoming in fall of 2021 from the University of Chicago Press. Elliott earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and her Ph.D. in American Studies from University of Texas at Austin. She is also a member of ARC’s Poetry & the Senses Advisory Board.
Vincente Perez is a fall 2021 Poetry & the Senses Fellow. Perez (He/They) is a Black Mexican-American performance poet, scholar, and writer working at the intersections of Poetry, Hip-Hop, and Digital Black cultural praxis with an interest in the way that artists use narrative to resist dominant stories that attempt to erase, subjugate, or enact violence on marginalized communities. Their work centers Black and Latinx lived experience with a stylistic approach that samples and (re)mixes Hip-Hop and Performance Poetry into counternarratives. He is a PhD Candidate in the Performance Studies program (Dept of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies).
Cave Canem Foundation is celebrating 25 years of being North America’s premier home for Black poetry! Launched in June with their 25th Anniversary Reunion, Cave Canem’s yearlong celebration of their rich history continues. Please visit them here.