R133. CANCELLED: Interrogating the Racial Past Through Research-Based Poetry

Status: Not Accepted

Room 214C, Henry B. González Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Thursday, March 5, 2020
9:00 am to 10:15 am


Confederate monuments fall, on the one hand. Klansmen march openly, on the other. As we’re gripped again by tensions we haven’t yet outgrown—as nation, as world—interrogating the racial past seems key to understanding and withstanding our present circumstance. Five poets of varied backgrounds explore their strategies to expose old debts, revivify forgotten voices, question motivations, and fracture and reset the broken language of the culture, to find within the past a way forward.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Interrogating_the_Racial_Past_outline.pdf



M. Nzadi Keita's most recent collection, Brief Evidence of Heaven, sheds light on Anna Murray Douglass, Frederick Douglass’s first wife. Keita was a 2017 Pew Fellow. Publications including Poet Lore and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South have featured her poems. Keita teaches at Ursinus College.

Herman Beavers is a professor of English and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has taught since 1989. He teaches courses in African American literature and creative writing. In addition to literary criticism, he has published two chapbooks and has a third coming out later this year.

Len Lawson is author of the debut poetry collection Chime and coeditor of Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race. He is a PhD student in literature and criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses are African American South Carolina native poets and afrofuturism theory.

Henk Rossouw is the author of Xamissa, which won the Poets Out Loud Editor's Prize. New-Generation African Poets: Tano and Best American Experimental Writing 2018 both include excerpts. An assistant professor, he teaches creative writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center