The symposium Activist Poetics examines notions of activist poiesis and activist poetics to investigate the intersections between digital activism, contemporary experimental writing and performance, and new media practices. This symposium includes a public performance shaped by the engagements of our participants.
#Blacklivesmatter, #sayhername, #blacktranslivesmatter: these hashtags are incantations, poetic phrases used to mobilize social movements through digital networks. Recent years have seen a series of public controversies within North American poetry around the use of racially-charged and, in some cases, racially-insensitive material used in the name of an avant-garde aesthetics based on shock-value. This work has been widely criticized; many have argued that the world itself is already a far more shocking place than such works reveal, and that the aforementioned hashtags have done more to draw attention to its horrors. Cathy Park Hong, Associate Professor at Sarah Lawrence College and poetry editor of The New Republic, has named contemporary activist poetics as the new avant-garde. Writers working in this vein have been influenced and inspired by—and have also participated in—the surge of public, digitally inflected social movements, which are themselves a mode of poiesis—an act of making that forges coalitional bonds.
Petersen Room, Allen Library (4th floor), University of Washington, Seattle
- Opening Remarks, micha cárdenas (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences and Interactive Media Design, UW Bothell), director of the Poetic Operations Collaborative
- Alexis Pauline Gumbs (PhD in English, African & African American Studies and Women & Gender Studies from Duke University), founder of the School of Our Lorde, an inter-generational multi-media education initiative
- Davida Ingram (artist and activist, Seattle), 2014 Stranger Genius Award Winner, co-founder of Seattle People of Color Salon
Carmen Gimenez Smith (poet, writer, editor), editor-in-chief of Puerto del Sol and publisher of Noemi Press. She teaches at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico
Layli Long Soldier (English, Diné College), recipient of a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation artist fellowship
- Dawn Lundy Martin (English, University of Pittsburgh), a poet, cultural critic, new media performer, and co-founder of The Third Wave Foundation
- Kai Green (Gender & Sexuality Studies and African American Studies, Northwestern University)
Microsoft Auditorium, Seattle Public Library-Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave.