Public In-Person Events Spring 2024

Optics of Black Listening

Join us for Optics of Black Listening with DOUGLAS KEARNEY

Friday, April 26, 2024: TWO IN-PERSON EVENTS!

Informal Conversation + Q&A
1–3pm CT
Publications Unit
Williams Hall Annex
Illinois State University,
Normal, IL

Poetry Reading + Q&A + Book Signing
6–8pm CT
University Galleries of ISU
11 Uptown Circle #103
Normal, IL

**Both events are free and open to the public


    Save the Date

    Friday, April 26, 2024

    “Where, oh where would we be without the dynamic intelligence and feats of

    lyric daring that Douglas Kearney’s work has delivered to American poetry?”

    —Tracy K. Smith

    a black and white photo of a smiling brown skinned man with short black hair, beard and moustache, wearing a black tshirt, standing outside, trees and sky in background

    About Douglas Kearney

    a brown skinned man with short black hair, wearing black rimmed glasses, a neatly trimmed beard and moustache, a black hoodie, looking directly into the camera

    Douglas Kearney

    Douglas Kearney has published seven collections, including Optic Subwoof (2022); the 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize-winning Sho (2021); Buck Studies (2016), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, and California Book Award silver medalist (Poetry). M. NourbeSe Philip calls Kearney’s collection of libretti, Someone Took They Tongues (2016), “a seismic, polyphonic mash-up.” Kearney’s Mess and Mess and (2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” WIRE magazine calls Fodder (2021), a live album featuring Kearney and frequent collaborator, Val-Inc., “Brilliant.” Kearney is the 2021 recipient of OPERA America’s Campbell Opera Librettist Prize, created and generously funded by librettist/lyricist Mark Campbell. His operas include Sucktion, Mordake, Crescent City, Sweet Land (the Music Critics of North America’s Best Opera of 2021), and Comet / Poppea commissioned by AMOC (American Modern Opera Company). He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Altadena, CA, Kearney teaches creative writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and lives in St. Paul with his family.

    Accommodation Info

    If you need an accommodation to fully participate in this program/event, please contact Obsidian Managing Editor Tara Reeser at tareeser@obsidianlit.org. (When you click the link, the email dialogue box will open in a new window)

    Please allow sufficient time to arrange the accommodation.

    These events are sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation and the Illinois State University Foundation Fund and cosponsored by Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora and the ISU Department of English, Creative Writing.

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    Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora 


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