PITTSBURGH: The Chatham University MFA in Creative Writing Program will sponsor Dialogues: Writing in Divided Times on April 6 from 5:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Welker Room, James Laughlin Music Hall, on Chatham’s Shadyside campus. The event will feature readings and conversations with four authors, Li-Young Lee, Cornelius Eady, Danez Smith and Adriana E. Ramirez.
Writing in Divided Times will begin with readings and performance by Smith and Ramirez from 5:15-6 p.m., where books will be available for purchase. Following a 6-7:30 p.m. dinner on your own, readings by Lee and Eady will take place from 7:30-8:15 p.m. A panel discussion featuring all authors is scheduled from 8:15- 9 p.m., with book sales and a reception wrapping up the evening from 9-9:30 p.m. The writers will take questions that will address what poetry might accomplish in divided times, and how it might be used to navigate hostile environments, whether personal, cultural or political.
Li-Young Lee was born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. His father had been a personal physician to Mao Zedong while in China, and relocated the family to Indonesia, where he helped found Gamaliel University. He is the author of The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (Simon & Schuster, 1995); Behind My Eyes (W. W. Norton & Co., 2008); Book of My Nights (BOA Editions, 2001), which won the 2002 William Carlos Williams Award; The City in Which I Love You (BOA Editions, 1990), which was the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and Rose (BOA Editions, 1986), which won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award.
Cornelius Eady is an American writer focusing largely on matters of race and society, His poetry often centers on jazz and blues, family life, violence, and societal problems stemming from questions of race and class. He is the author of Hardheaded Weather (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008); Brutal Imagination (2001), which was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award in Poetry; the autobiography of a jukebox (1997); You Don’t Miss Your Water (1995); The Gathering of My Name (1991), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, among others. In 1996 Eady co-founded, with writer Toi Derricotte, the Cave Canem summer workshop/retreat for African American poets
Danez Smith is an American poet. He is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead (2017), [insert] Boy (2014), winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and the chapbook hands on ya knees (Penmanship Books, 2013). Smith is the recipient of fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, Cave Canem, Voices of Our Nation (VONA) and elsewhere. He is also the author of two chapbooks, hands on your knees (2013, Penmanship Books) and black movie (2015, Button Poetry), winner of the Button Poetry Prize. Smith’s work has been featured widely including in on Buzzfeed, Blavity, PBS NewsHour, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Adriana E. Ramírez is a Mexican-Colombian writer, digital maker, and performance poet based in Pittsburgh. She won the inaugural PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize in 2015 for her novella-length work of nonfiction, Dead Boys (Little A, 2016), and in 2016 she was named Critic at Large for the Los Angeles Times Book Section. Her essays and poems have also appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica/PEN America, Literary Hub, Convolution, HEArt, Apogee, and on Nerve.com. Once a nationally ranked slam poet, she cofounded the Pittsburgh Poetry Collective and continues to perform on stages around the country. She and novelist Angie Cruz founded Aster(ix) Journal, a literary journal giving voice to the censored and the marginalized. Her debut full-length work of nonfiction, The Violence, is forthcoming from Scribner.