Cave Canem Presents Robin Coste Lewis & Frank X WalkerMonday, August 10, 2020 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
This summer, in the second of two readings with faculty from the 2020 Cave Canem retreat, Cave Canem presents Robin Coste Lewis and Frank X. Walker, live from their homes! The poets will read from their works, and participate in a live audience Q&A. Poet Quenton Baker will moderate their discussion.
Streamed on The Show Must Go On(line) Pittsburgh channel. (run-time 60 minutes)
Every June since 2010, City of Asylum has presented the poets of Cave Canem, a program to cap off Cave Canem’s annual retreat. The poets and their readings are unique in their appeal to both devoted and casual poetry audiences. These are rousing performances that speak to issues of the day with emotion, beauty, and with calls to action. Poets have included future Poet Laureates, National Book Award winners, MacArthur “Genius” award winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners.
Robin Coste Lewis is the poet laureate of Los Angeles. In 2015, her debut poetry collection, Voyage of the Sable Venus (Knopf), won the National Book Award in poetry. Lewis’s writing has appeared in various journals and anthologies, such as Time Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Transition, and Best American Poetry. In 2018, MoMA commissioned both Lewis and Kevin Young to write a series of poems to accompany Robert Rauschenberg’s drawings in Thirty-Four Illustrations of Dante’s Inferno (MoMA, 2018). Lewis is currently at work on two new collections, To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness and Prosthetic, both of which are forthcoming from Knopf. Lewis received a BA from Hampshire College in creative writing and comparative literature; an MTS degree in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature from the Divinity School at Harvard University; an MFA in poetry at New York University; and a PhD from the University of Southern Creative Writing and Literature Program. Other fellowships and awards include those from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Los Angeles Institute of the Humanities. Lewis was a finalist for the International War Poetry Prize and the National Rita Dove Prize. Lewis also received a Woman-of-the-Year award from Los Angeles County, and in 2018, she was named an “Art-of-Change” fellow by the Ford Foundation.
A native of Danville, Kentucky, Frank X Walker is the first African American writer to be named Kentucky Poet Laureate. Walker has published ten collections of poetry, including Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, which was awarded the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Poetry and the Black Caucus American Library Association Honor Award for Poetry. He is also the author of Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, winner of the 2004 Lillian Smith Book Award and Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride, which he adapted for stage, earning him the Paul Green Foundation Playwrights Fellowship Award. Voted one of the most creative professors in the south, Walker coined the term “Affrilachia” and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets, subsequently publishing the much-celebrated eponymous collection. His honors also include a 2004 Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry, the 2008 and 2009 Denny C. Plattner Award for Outstanding Poetry in Appalachian Heritage, the 2013 West Virginia Humanities Council’s Appalachian Heritage Award, as well as fellowships and residences with Cave Canem, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Kentucky Arts Council. Walker is the founding editor of pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture and serves as Professor of English and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. photo credit: Patrick J. Mitchell
Quenton Baker is a poet, educator, and Cave Canem fellow. His current focus is black interiority and the afterlife of slavery. His work has appeared in The Offing, Jubilat, Vinyl, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. He has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Southern Maine and is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. He is the recipient of the 2016 James W. Ray Venture Project Award and 2018 Arts Innovator Award from Artist Trust, and was a 2019 Robert Rauschenberg Artist in Residence. Baker is the author of This Glittering Republic (Willow Books, 2016).
Founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996 to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape, Cave Canem Foundation is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.