2019 Spring Poetry Festival All events free and open to the public

April 3

Gabrielle Calvocoressi



Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, Apocalyptic Swing (a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize), and Rocket Fantastic, winner of the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. The recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship from Stanford University; a Rona Jaffe Woman Writer's Award; a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, TX; the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review; and a residency from the Civitella di Ranieri Foundation, among others.


Calvocoressi's poems have been published or are forthcoming in numerous magazines and journals including The Baffler, The New York Times, POETRY, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Tin House, and The New Yorker. Calvocoressi is an Editor at Large at Los Angeles Review of Books, and Poetry Editor at Southern Cultures. Works in progress include a non-fiction book entitled, The Year I Didn't Kill Myself and a novel, The Alderman of the Graveyard.


Calvocoressi teaches at UNC Chapel Hill and lives in Carrboro, NC, where joy, compassion, and social justice are at the center of their personal and poetic practice.


Bountiful Terrible Endless Music: Using Cycles, Symphony, and Poly-Vocal Strategies in Poems

                           3 p.m., LookOut! Gallery, Snyder Hall


An Evening with Gabrielle Calvocoressi

                           7 p.m., RCAH Theater, Snyder Hall

                             Reception/book signing to follow in the LookOut! Gallery





April 10

Tyehimba Jess

Generously co-sponsored by the MSU Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives


Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and Olio. Olio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Midland Society Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.  It was also nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN Jean Stein Book Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.  Leadbelly was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.”


Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU Alumni, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004–2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team, and won a 2000–2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. He presented his poetry at the 2011 TedX Nashville Conference and won a 2016 Lannan Literary Award in Poetry. He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2018. Jess is a Professor of English at College of Staten Island.


Jess' fiction and poetry have appeared in many journals, as well as anthologies such as Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, Beyond The Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Power Lines: Ten Years of Poetry from Chicago's Guild Complex, and Slam: The Art of Performance Poetry.


The Line in the Circle:  Following the Ripples of History Through Poetry

                            3 p.m., LookOut! Gallery, Snyder Hall


An Evening with Tyehimba Jess, with Balocating Undergraduate Prize for Poetry presentation

                            7 p.m., RCAH Theater, Snyder Hall

                           Reception/book signing to follow in the LookOut! Gallery





April 17

Franny Choi

Generously co-sponsored by RCAH Wednesday Night Live


Franny Choi is a queer, Korean-American poet, playwright, teacher, organizer, pottymouth, GryffinClaw, and general overachiever.  She is the author of two poetry collections, Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019) and Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), as well as a chapbook, Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). She has received awards from the Poetry Foundation and the Helen Zell Writers Program, as well as fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Her poems have appeared in journals including POETRY, American Poetry Review, and New England Review, and her work has been featured by the Huffington Post, Ms. Magazine, PBS NewsHour, and Angry Asian Man.


A former Co-Director of the award-winning Providence Poetry Slam, Franny has been a finalist in competitions including the National Poetry Slam, the Individual World Poetry Slam, and the Women of the World Poetry Slam. She is a two-time winner of the Rustbelt Poetry Slam and has performed her work in schools, conferences, theaters, and bars across the country. She has taught students of all ages and levels of experience, including at the University of Michigan as a Graduate Student Instructor and through organizations like Project VOICE and InsideOut Literary Arts Project. A Kundiman Fellow and graduate of the VONA Workshop, she founded the Brew & Forge Book Fair, a fundraising project that brings together readers and writers to build capacity in social justice community organizations. As a curator, she has worked with organizations including Split This Rock and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and she is particularly passionate about highlighting the voices of queer and trans poets of Asian and Pacific Island diasporas.

Aside from writing and teaching, Franny is a Senior News Editor for Hyphen Magazine and hosts the Poetry Foundation podcast VS along with fellow poet Danez Smith. A member of the Dark Noise Collective, Franny is currently a Zell Postgraduate Fellow at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program and a Citywide Poets Site Leader at the Detroit School of Arts. She lives in Hamtramck, MI with some very resilient plants.


Afternoon Conversation, 3 p.m., LookOut! Gallery, Snyder Hall

Wednesday Night Live with Franny Choi, 7 p.m., RCAH Theater, Snyder Hall

                       Reception/book signing to follow in the LookOut! Gallery



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