This summer, I'm collaborating with the poet-scholar Evie Shockley to facilitate a series of presentations and workshops related to the study of black poetry. Under the direction of professor Maryemma Graham at the University of Kansas, we're implementing an NEH Institute for college and university teachers.
The Institute, Black Poetry After the Black Arts Movement (BAM), "responds to the resurgence of interest in contemporary poetry, its expanded production and wide circulation." As we further explain in our write-up:
Special attention will be paid to the divergent and yet cross-fertilizing trajectories of black poetry since the 1980s, which has produced both the sharp and vocal critiques of spoken word poetry and the refined academic poetry that garners so much critical attention from the literary establishment.Presenters will include several accomplished poets and scholars: Tyehimba Jess, Brenda Marie Osbey, James Smethurst, Kathy Lou Schultz, William J. Harris, Harryette Mullen, Joanne Gabbin, Meta DuEwa Jones, Jerry W. Ward, Frank X. Walker, and Kevin Young.
The Institute provides participants (Summer Scholars) with a small stipend.
If you're a college teacher seeking to expand your knowledge of African American poetry and enhance your methods of introducing students to poetry, then you should definitely apply. If you know of someone who might be interested, please encourage them to apply as well.
I have worked with NEH Institutes on African American poetry and literature in general in previous years, and I have found them to be really extraordinary learning and intellectual experiences.