UC welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

UC poet-in-residence Tyehimba Jess to give two virtual public readings: March 23 & 25

UC’s College of Arts and Sciences welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess as the March 2020 poet-in-residence for the Department of English. As part of the residency, the department will host both a virtual public lecture and poetry reading.

“The English department is thrilled to host Tyehimba Jess for a virtual residency, and we’re grateful to the Weinberger Center for Drama and Playwriting and to the Department of Africana Studies for their generous contributions to this endeavor,” said Jennifer Habel, coordinator of creative writing for the department. 

Poet Tyehimba Jess

Poet Tyehimba Jess/provided

Jess, a professor of English at College of Staten Island, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his collection titled Olio (Wave Books, 2016). Called by Publishers Weekly, “encyclopedic, ingenious and abundant,” Olio celebrates the voices of previously unheard Black performers, who pre-dated the Harlem Renaissance, from the pre-Civil War era up until World War I in sonnet, narrative and song form.

Olio also won 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, among other recognitions.

His earlier collection, Leadbelly (Wave Books, 2005), examines the life and times of the legendary musician Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter. That collection was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series and was named by Library Journal and Black Issues Book review as one of the best poetry books of 2005.

In addition to meeting with creative writing students, Jess will present two virtual events during his residency. On March 23 at 7 p.m., he will give a lecture titled, “Documentary Poetics: Remixing and Remastering History,” exploring a poetic mode that records and challenges historical accounts. On March 25 at 7 p.m., Jess will read from his Pulitzer Prize-winning Olio, in addition to sharing new poems. Both events will be held via Zoom.

Register online.