F209. Writing Race: Poets on the Complexity and Contradictions of Race in America

Room 404 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Friday, April 1, 2016
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


In the "postracial" Obama era, the nation remains racially polarized, as the tragedies and protests in Ferguson and elsewhere demonstrate. How can a poet write truthfully about the complexity and contradictions of race in America? How can a poet balance a poem’s message with the demands of poetry? How can a poet speak on behalf of his or her community, and yet empathize with other groups? How can a poet channel anger into art, risking the alienation of the audience for the sake of honesty?



Richard Michelson’s poetry collections include More Money than God, Battles & Lullabies, and Tap Dancing for Relatives. He is the host of Northampton Poetry Radio, and the just completed his second term as poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts.

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a visual artist and poet. She is the author of four poetry collections and the recipient of numerous fellowships. Griffiths teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn.

Timothy Liu is the author of ten books of poems, including Don't Go Back to Sleep and Let It Ride, as well as a hybrid novel, Kingdom Come. He is a professor of English at William Paterrson University.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center