F293. Against Witness: Developing Accountability & Participation in Poetry

B110-112, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Friday, March 29, 2019
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


Definitions of “poetry of witness” are shifting as poets seek to defy the inherent passivity of the term “witness.” Increasingly, poets are interrogating the safety afforded by time and distance, engaging legacies of trauma, including those they have inherited or been proxy to, in order to confront the past and their own participation. Four poets discuss and confront the methods we use to bridge the selectivity and compartmentalization of human memory in poetry. To “witness” is no longer enough.



Ángel García is the author of Teeth Never Sleep, winner of the 2018 CantoMundo Poetry Prize. A CantoMundo fellow and a recipient of the Lukas Riveros Amani Fellowship from Vermont Studio Center, his poems have been included in American Poetry Review, McSweeney's, Crab Orchard Review, and Huizache.

Julia Bouwsma is the author of two poetry collections, Midden and Work by Bloodlight. She lives and works on an off-the-grid farm in the mountains of western Maine, serving as Book Review Editor for Connotation Press: An Online Artifact and Library Director for Webster Library in Kingfield, Maine.

Sara Borjas is a third generation Chicana and a Fresno poet. She is the recipient of the Blue Mesa Poetry Prize and has received fellowships from ThT Community of Writers at Squaw Valley Workshop Fellow, CantoMundo, and the Postgraduate Writer's Workshop. She teaches creative writing at UC Riverside.

Mia Ayumi Malhotra is the author of Isako Isako, winner of the 2017 Alice James Award. She received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Washington and is a Kundiman and VONA/Voices Fellow. She is a founding editor of the literary journal Lantern Review.

F. Douglas Brown is the author of two poetry collections: ICON, and Zero to Three, winner of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. He also coauthored, Begotten, with poet Geffrey Davis. Brown is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow, and he teaches literature at Loyola High School of Los Angeles.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center