upcoming events

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Jun 16 2018
Because Blackness Like Poetry Means Many Things: Celebrating Cave Canem

Celebrate Cave Canem with exceptional readings by Cave Canem fellows Samiya Bashir, Eisa Davis, Ruth Ellen Kocher and avery r. young. This celebration's theme, “Blackness like poetry means many things,” draws from Terrance Hayes’s 2016 speech at the National Book Awards, when Cave Canem won the Literian Award. Bashir is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Field Theories (Nightboat Books, 2017), of which Major Jackson notes, "each poem makes a spectacular event of artful speech that dances on the ridgeline of this brilliant poets’ history, heart, and intellect." Davis is a writer, actor, playwright and singer-songwriter whose play, Bulrusher, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Kocher is the author of several books of poetry. Of her most recent, Third Voice (Tupelo Press, 2016), Publisher Weekly says "The dramatic voices that operate throughout act as a reminder that history is a fragmented reality with many angles, not simply a linear series of indisputable facts." Young is a 3Arts Awardee and widely published multidisciplinary artist who mentors youth in creative writing and theater. This event is hosted by the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh (CAAPP) and the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater.

For tickets, audience members are encouraged to pay what makes you happy, either in advance or at the door. For questions or concerns please contact Lauren Russell, Assistant Director of CAAPP, at [email protected] or (412) 383-5954.

5941 Penn Ave
15206 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jun 14 2018
Cave Canem Faculty Read at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh

Enjoy an evening of poetry with acclaimed poets and 2018 retreat faculty Chris AbaniRobin Coste Lewis and Amber Flora Thomas at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. Recipient of a Guggenheim Award, Abani is the author of Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), and There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010) among other works of poetry and fiction. Lewis is the current poet laureate of Los Angeles and author of Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), which won the National Book Award. Thomas is the author of The Rabbits Could Sing (University of Alaska Press, 2012) and the Eye of Water (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), which won the 2004 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Free and open to the public.

Chris Abani is a novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright who grew up in Afikpo, Nigeria, receiving a BA in English from Imo State University, Nigeria, an MA in English, Gender and Culture from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. He is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a Guggenheim Award, among others. His poetry collections include Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), and Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010). Through his TED Talks, public speaking, and essays, Abani is known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics, and our shared political responsibility.

Robin Coste Lewis was born in Compton, California. She received an MFA from New York University and an MTS from the Divinity School at Harvard University. She is the author of Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), winner of the National Book Award. Lewis has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, and Hampshire College. Lewis served as Provost’s Fellow at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles, where she was recently appointed Poet Laureate.

Born and raised in San Francisco, poet Amber Flora Thomas earned a BA at Humboldt State University and an MFA at Washington University in St. Louis. he is the author of  The Rabbits Could Sing (2012) and the Eye of Water (2005), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (2009), and Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (2006). Thomas’s honors include the Richard Peterson Poetry Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize from Rosebud magazine, the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize, and an individual artist grant from the Marin Arts Council.

40 W. North Avenue
15212 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jun 13 2018
Cave Canem Fellows Read

Join the excitement! Hear a group of this year’s fellows read their work in rapid-fire, 4-minute intervals. Free and open to the public. Refreshments served.

150 Finoli Drive
15601 Greensburg, Pennsylvania

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            Steamtown National Historic Site was created in 1986 to
            preserve the history of steam railroading in America,
            concentrating on the era 1850 through 1950.

We weren’t supposed to, so we did
      what any band of boys would do
& we did it the

The great, unequal conflict past, 
   The Briton banish'd from our shore, 
Peace, heav'n-descended, comes at last, 
   And hostile nations rage no more;
      From fields of death the weary swain 
      Returning, seeks his native plain. 

In every vale she smiles serene, 
   Freedom's bright stars more radiant

I burn your Highland Park. I acid your Carnegie
car dealerships. Your Squirrel Hill, sheer terror
in winter. But most of all, I hate your Liberty Avenue,
the last place, one night, I saw my closest friend
saying, Wait here, outside the after-hours club. I wait,
hating your Strip,