Monday, April 29, 2013

Talking African American poetry at the University Oregon

Anthony Reed, Evie Shockley, and Matt Sandler
Among other positive attributes, one of the cool things about the symposium at the University of Oregon was the opportunity to talk African American poetry with a range of folks. Matt Sandler (University of Oregon), Anthony Reed (Yale), and Evie Shockley (Rutgers) have all done extensive work on poetry, and they presented aspects of their works on a panel together. During the course of the symposium, I got a chance to pick up a variety of ideas from each of them.

Usually, unless the scholarly gathering is directly related to the genre, I don't get expect to participate in many discussions about the study of African American poetry. So I was surprised by how many in-depth conversations that I took part in concerning poets, trends in the field, ongoing research projects, different volumes to consider.

Even at one of the dinners, I happened to be seated next to Corbett Upton, a faculty member in the English department at the University of Oregon. What began as our discussion of Star Wars and artistic inspiration quickly moved to our additional shared interests studying how poems and poets are anthologized and thus represented as part of various canons.

Thinking and writing about poetry can sometimes feel like a lonely enterprise. However, after a couple of days like the ones I had in Eugene, Oregon, you begin to think that it's sometimes a matter of getting connected to the right folks in the right place, right time.

A Golden Age of Inspiration for Black Men Writers, 1977 - 1997

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