Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Poetry and History: An Evening with U.S. Poet Laureate (2012-2014) Natasha Trethewey

[by Meredith Wiggins]

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey spoke and read poems about art, family, and race as part of the Hall Center for the Humanities 2014-2015 Humanities Lecture Series on Tuesday, March 3.

All her poetry begins with a question she wants to answer, Trethewey said. In the case of 2012's Thrall, her most recent collection, the primary question was how Enlightenment thinking has shaped the current language of race, including the language that her father, a white poet, used to describe his biracial daughter.

Trethewey conceived of Thrall as a conversation with her father. They used to give readings together, she said, where her father would sometimes read a poem titled "Her Swing," which described his biracial daughter as "a crossbreed"--something, she added, "that it is not possible for a person to be."

Trethewey always felt unsettled by the poem, which she said made her feel like the Venus Hottentot, body on display for an audience's eyes. Her father loved her and encouraged her to a be a poet, she said, but he also dreaded it "because he knew I would set the story straight."

Monday, March 23, 2015

“Characteristics of Negro Expression”: Kenton Rambsy on the Importance of Digital Humanities in the Study of African American Short Stories

[by Stefanie Torres and Jennifer Colatosi]

On February 11, 2015, Hall Center Research Fellow and KU English Ph.D. candidate Kenton Rambsy presented on notable outcomes of his dissertation research in his interdisciplinary graduate research workshop, “Characteristics of Negro Expression: Digital Humanities and African American Short Stories,” at the University of Kansas.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Upcoming Event: "Incidents in the LIfe of a Genre," by Maryemma Graham

Open to all: 
Incidents in the Life of a Genre: Autobiography and Self-Invention

an inaugural lecture presented by
Maryemma Graham 
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
  Monday, March 23, 2015
Lecture: 5:30 p.m., Bruckmiller Room, Adams Alumni Center