Spring 2022


Celebrating artistic excellence in the African Diaspora online and beyond!

Join us for our final Spring 2022 #ObsidianVoices event:

  • April 29 @ 6PM CT: “____ing While Black,” a reading by Michael Warr from his ongoing poetry project “What Not to Do (an unfinished poem)” and conversation about Black embodied consciousness FEATURING Tyehimba Jess, Breauna L. Roach, Michael Warr & Naudia Williams. Moderated by Obsidian Editor Duriel E. Harris

    Save the Date

    April 29, 2022

    Obsidian Voices December 3, 2021


    About the Artists

    Sheree L. Greer

    #ObsidianVoices April 29, 2022

    Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and Olio. Olio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Midland Society Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Leadbelly was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU Alumni, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004–2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team, and won a 2000–2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. He presented his poetry at the 2011 TedX Nashville Conference and won a 2016 Lannan Literary Award in Poetry. He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2018. Jess is a Professor of English at College of Staten Island.

    Michal MJ Jones

    #ObsidianVoices April 29, 2022

    Breauna L. Roach is a poet from Detroit, Michigan. Her publications include Winter Tangerine, Prairie Schooner, and numerous others. Breauna received fellowships from Cave Canem and Callaloo. She graduated from Florida A & M University & has an MFA from Emerson College. Her art is dedicated to the radical act of being Black & joyful simultaneously.

    Shayla Lawz

    #ObsidianVoices April 29, 2022

    Michael Warr’s books include Of Poetry & Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, The Armageddon of Funk, and We Are All The Black Boy. He has received a 2021 San Francisco Artist Grant, the 2020 Berkeley Poetry Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, the San Francisco Library Laureate, a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, a Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award, an NEA Fellowship, a Creative Work Fund Award, and the Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award (his first recognition as a poet). His poems are translated into Chinese by poet Chun Yu for their Two Languages/One Community Project.

    Christian Loriel Lucas

    #ObsidianVoices April 29, 2022

    Naudia Williams is a Chicago native. She began writing at the age of 13 but has been a performer for the majority of her life singing, dancing, and acting. She served as the vice president for Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., and the president of the Black Greek Leadership Council at Illinois State University for the academic year of 2020-21. At ISU, Williams is a senior majoring in English. Her work is featured in the ISU creative arts journal Euphemism fall 2017 and fall 2018 editions; the End Chiraq, a literary mixtape through Northwestern University Press; and RedBull’s documentary This and Nothing Else: Chicago’s HipHop Scene. She was awarded 3rd nationally in the NAACP’S ACT-SO competition for poetry performance and named America’s Best College Poet in fall 2020.

    Nandi Comer

    #ObsidianVoices April 29, 2022


    Duriel E. Harris is a writer, performer, artist, and scholar. She is author of three critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, including No Dictionary of a Living Tongue (Nightboat, 2017), Drag (2003), and Amnesiac: Poems (2010). Multi-genre works include the one-woman theatrical performance Thingification, the video collaboration Speleology (2011), and the sound+image project “Blood Labyrinth.” Cofounder of The Black Took Collective, Harris is Professor of Poetry and Poetics at Illinois State University and Editor in Chief of the award-winning publishing platform Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora.

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