The Arts Research Center will celebrate the 2021 Fall Poetry Fellows with a reading of work created during their fellowship semester. This event will feature undergrad fellows Anastasia Le and Gisselle Medina; graduate fellows Lindsay Choi and Vincente Perez; faculty fellows Ahmad Diab and Jesse Nathan; and community fellows Maurya Kerr and D’mani Thomas, and be followed by a short conversation and Q&A with Chiyuma Elliott.
During fall 2021, these amazing poetry fellows will explore and push against the theme coexistence. The word coexistence has a spatial component, and implies the sharing of space or cohabitation within overlapping territories; it also has a temporal dimension, suggesting simultaneous presence with others in the same moment in time. These fellows engage capaciously with issues of mutuality, synchronicity, interdependence, and care – from enlivening exchanges between beings, to the porous line between animate and inanimate, to the challenges of living together on our planet, to the uncanny shivers of coincidence.
Anastasia Le is a poet, printmaker, and student co-operative member in her final year of a BA in comparative politics at UC Berkeley. Her first published poem appears in the 2021 Southeast Asian Student Coalition Anthology, in honor of the 46th anniversary of the Southeast Asian diaspora. Her work concerns reconciliation: political, sacramental, or otherwise. Anastasia was born and raised in the Lake Chabot area of the East Bay, among the Vietnamese Catholic community of the Oakland Diocese. She is the oldest of three daughters. Her favorite color is red.
Gisselle Medina’s identity consists of multitudes—a Latine, queer, non-binary from Los Angeles. They are a poet, visual artist and journalist in their final year as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. In Medina’s scholarship, they investigate the history of literature and intertwine various methods and theories into literary and cultural analysis. In their poetry, Medina writes fiercely about their restless past and our collective world, in hopes to inspire and transcend anyone willing to listen. Medina inspires to be an investigative reporter for the LA Times, a multi-published poet and founder of a non-profit organization for mental health. This is only the beginning of their journey.
최 Lindsay | Lindsay Choi is a poet and translator working between English, Korean, and Swedish. They are the author of Transverse (Futurepoem, 2021), as well as a chapbook, Matrices (speCt! books, 2017). More of their work can be found in Omniverse, Aster(ix) Journal, and elsewhere, including a forthcoming sound piece for amatter. They are a Kundiman fellow and a Ph.D. candidate in English literature at UC Berkeley. With Noah Ross, they are a founding co-editor of the chapbook press MO(0)ON/IO. Their work has been translated to French, and appears in NIOQUES, 22/23: Nouvelle Poésie Des États-Unis (New U.S. Poetry), edited by DoubleChange Collective, and translated by Abigail Lang. Visit them at lindsaychoi.com.
Vincente 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 (Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies)
Ahmad Diab is a Palestinian writer and academic. He is assistant professor of modern Arabic literature and cinema (20th and 21st centuries) at University of California, Berkeley. His work contemplates the relationship between displacement and representation. He received his B.A. from Damascus University. He was awarded a Ph.D. from the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. He is currently finishing his first academic book titled Intimate Others: Representations of Arabs in the Palestinian Imaginary. He is also finishing his Arabic translation of After the Last Sky by Edward Said, and compiling a volume of poetry provisionally titled Measures of Distance.
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.
Maurya Kerr is a bay area-based writer, educator, and artist. Maurya’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart prize and appears or is forthcoming in multiple journals, including Inverted Syntax, Chestnut Review, Tupelo Quarterly, little somethings press, and an anthology, “The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry.” Much of her artistic work, across disciplines, is focused on Black and brown people reclaiming their birthright to wonderment. Maurya was recently chosen by Jericho Brown as a runner-up in Southern Humanities Review’s 2021 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize, and her first chapbook, MUTTOLOGY, will be published with Harbor Editions in 2022.
D’mani Thomas is a Black visual theorist, horror enthusiast, and writer from Oakland, California (Ohlone territory). D’mani has received fellowships from The Watering Hole, Foglifter literary journal, and Bakanal de Afrique via Afro Urban Society. When he’s not writing, find him watching horror movie trailers, drinking smoothies, or reading YouTube spoilers for movies he has no attention span for. D’mani’s work has been published by The Auburn Avenue, The Ana, MARY: A Journal of New Writing, Shade Literary Arts, and his poem, “Survival Tactics” was recently shortlisted for the 2020 Penrose Poetry Prize. His current work obsesses over what it means to create intimacy under total surveillance.
This reading is sponsored by the Arts Research Center in partnership with Engaging the Senses Foundation.