Incant, Invent, Illuminate: Formal Innovation under Colonial Patriarchy

Room 331, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 3
Saturday, March 11, 2023
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm


In poetry as in prose, language can function both to illuminate our experiences and as a form of spell-casting against forces that seek to control it. How might a poem or essay be an antidote to respectability, ancestral incantation, or psychic shield? Through invented forms, lyrical experimentation, and negotiation of archival material, four poetry and prose writers trouble and hex colonial and patriarchal paradigms in a discussion about writing within, through, and against Western empire.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP_2023_Event_Outline.pdf



Raena Shirali is the author of GILT (YesYes Books, 2017, winner of the 2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award), and summonings (Black Lawrence Press, 2022, winner of the 2021 Hudson Prize). Winner of a Pushcart Prize, Shirali is now an assistant professor of English at Holy Family University.

Irène P. Mathieu is a writer, pediatrician, and public health researcher at University of Virginia. Author of three poetry collections, Grand Marronage, orogeny, and the galaxy of origins, she has been a Fulbright, Callaloo, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow.

Desiree C. Bailey is the author of What Noise against the Cane, which won the 2020 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, and she was a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry and other awards. She is from Trinidad & Tobago, and Queens, New York. Desiree is the Writer in Residence at Clemson University.

Kiran Bath is a writer based in New York City. She has received fellowships and support from Poets House, the Vermont Studio Center, and Brooklyn Poets. Kiran is a 2022 Kundiman fellow and a Tin House alumni. Her debut collection of poems Instructions for Banno is forthcoming with Kelsey Street Press.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center