Public In-Person Event Summer 2024

Outta Sight: Black Listening in Performance

Join us for an evening of celebration with

Duriel E. Harris, Tracie Morris, Sylvia Ewing,

Me’Chelle, Sterling Plumpp, and avery r. young

with musical guest Justin Dillard

& Special Guest DJ Shawn Buddha Ryder

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Doors open at 6:30pm CT with DJ set

Reading & Performance & Book Signing: 7-9:30pm CT

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
Performance Penthouse
915 E 60th St, Chicago, IL

Location, Driving, Parking, and Building Accessibility info

can be found at this link: https://www.logancenter.uchicago.edu/visit

**This event is free and open to the public


    Save the Date

    Thursday, June 27, 2024

    Outta Sight: Black Listening in Performance

    In celebration of  Obsidian’s 49.2 issue

    Outta Sight! Sonic Bodies in the Galaxy of Black Listening

    edited by Duriel E. Harris with Guest Editor Tracie Morris

    Image of event flyer based  on Artwork by Nettrice Gaskins, Algorhythmic Reverie, 2022, with  the words outta sight written in gold letters above a black, gold and white speaker, same speaker on the other side of the image, a picture of a blue woman with hair styled in a top knot, against a gold and blue background
    Artwork by Nettrice Gaskins, Algorhythmic Reverie, 2022

    Obsidian’s Black Listening special issue provides an environment for thought about, and
    engagement with, Black aesthetic practices that attend to active aural witnessing/discovery. This type
    of listening spans concepts of time, environment, space, ability, embodiment, genre, and historical
    markers. We ask: “What does it mean to ‘listen —Black’?”

    Black Listening affirms embodied awarenesses of Black folx holding space for our diversity, our
    struggles, our desires, our joy, our suffering, as well as multiple layers of context—of BEING—
    grounded in the fact /materiality /actuality of each of us BEING both a person and an essential
    element of a collective creativity.

    Black Listening Guide

    • Black listening is a (philosophical) concept/ descriptive phenomenon
    • Black listening is a relational mode of being: “I am as are we” (individual and collective survival and flourishing)
    • Black listening is a portal to understanding/knowing, to affirmation/recognition of—the breadth & depth of Black experience
    • Black listening as deep listening, as fully embodied experience through vibration
    • Black listening incorporates ideas of active movement including active engagement as a mode of receptivity

    About the Performers

    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

    Duriel E. Harris

    Duriel E. Harris is a poet, performer, and sound artist. She is author of three print volumes of poetry, including her most recent, No Dictionary of a Living Tongue (Nightboat, 2017), Drag (2003) and Amnesiac: Poems (2010). Multi-genre works include her one-woman theatrical performance Thingification, as well as Speleology (2011), a video collaboration with artist Scott Rankin. Cofounder of the avant garde poetry/performance trio The Black Took Collective, Harris has been a MacDowell and Millay Colony fellow. Her work has appeared in numerous venues, including BAX, Mandorla, The &Now Awards, Of Poetry & Protest, Ploughshares, Troubling the Line, and The Best of Fence; and her compositions have been translated into Polish, German, and Spanish. Awarded the George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature in 2023, Harris is Professor of English at Illinois State University and Editor of the award-winning publishing platform Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora.

    A person wearing a woven hat with brown and purple hues, orange-tinted glasses, and a pink shirt smiles outdoors on a city street. The street is slightly blurred, showing buildings, a sidewalk, and people in the background. The scene appears bright yet slightly overcast.

    Tracie Morris

    Tracie Morris is an interdisciplinary poet and sound artist. In her poetry, Morris transforms and complicates her subjects of abuse, power, and the body through repetition and accretive adjustments or substitutions, creating an intimate, dynamic space for readers and listeners. In an interview for Creative Capital, Morris states, “For me, sound poetry teases apart the meaning that is embedded with sound and separates that from literal meaning. So what I try to do is pull those things apart and then create a narrative arc from it.” Morris’s poetry collections include Hard Kore: Poemes/Per-Form: Poems of Mythos and Place (in English and French—joca seria, 2017 France/2018 US), handholding: 5 kinds (2016), Rhyme Scheme (2012), and Intermission (1998). Her work is featured in numerous anthologies, including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (2015), The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015), and An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art (2002). Her sound installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial, MoMA, the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, and other sites. She leads the Tracie Morris Band and is also a lead singer for the group Terraplane. In 2018 Morris was designated a Master Artist by the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Visiting Writer at the Vermont Studio Center, and WPR Fellow at Harvard University (2018-2019). After three years as the first Distinguished Visiting Professor of Poetry at the Iowa Writers Workshop, Morris joined the permanent poetry faculty in Fall, 2020.

    A smiling woman with gray braided hair styled in an updo is wearing a black short-sleeve top. She is accessorized with thin hoop earrings and two gold necklaces. The background consists of a brick wall with a small portion of green foliage visible on the right side.

    Sylvia Ewing

    Sylvia Ewing‘s work has appeared in Newcity Magazine, the Chicago Reader, and live events. Her poems reflect her passion for place, people, nature, and Black life. Sylvia studied with Emily Hooper Lansana and Jon Sands’ Emotional Historians. She is also a PBS Pledge Host, teacher, and HistoryMaker for media.

    A black-and-white photo of a woman looking to the side, wearing a studded leather jacket and unique earrings with circular and rectangular shapes. She has long, braided hair and a calm expression. The background features blurred trees, giving a natural outdoor setting.


    Me’Chelle (She/Her) is a mother, poet, musician and teaching artist. Her work is interdisciplinary, often blending music, poetry & digital visual art together. Her poem “Dark Haunts” was featured in Bone Bouquet magazine (Winter 2020) & her poem “Lumiere” was recently featured at the Lumiere Gala for MSV Chicago (Spring 2023).

    Black and white portrait of an older man smiling warmly at the camera. He has short gray hair and wears a textured dark jacket over a light-colored shirt. The background is a plain, light gray.

    Sterling D. Plumpp

    Sterling D. Plumpp is a blues poet, essayist, and author of fifteen books including Home/Bass, Velvet Bebop Kente Cloth, Ornate with Smoke, Blues Narratives, and his most recently released collection, Exile. Plumpp is Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has a daughter and two grandchildren.

    Black and white portrait of a man with short curly hair wearing glasses and a plaid jacket. He is looking directly at the camera and has his hands together in front of him, as if in thought or prayer. The background is a plain gray backdrop.

    avery r. young

    avery r. young [him, him, his] is Chicago’s first Poet Laureate, interdisciplinary artist, and educator. He is a Leader for a New Chicago 2022 awardee, a Cave Canem fellow and a co-director of The Floating Museum. His poetry and prose have been featured in BreakBeat Poets, Teaching Black, Poetry Magazine, and alongside images in photographer Cecil McDonald Jr’s In The Company of Black.  He is the composer and librettist for a newly-commissioned work from The Lyric Opera of Chicago titled safronia.  His full-length recording, tubman., is the soundtrack to his collection of poetry, neckbone: visual verses.

    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 Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora in partnership with the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Get Your Copy Today

    Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora 


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