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, Duke University), founder of the School of Our Lorde, an inter-generational multi-media education initiative
- C Davida Ingram (Independent Artist), 2014 Stranger Genius award winner and co-founder of Seattle People of Color Salon
Carmen Giménez Smith (English, New Mexico State University), a Canto Mundo Fellow, poet, publisher of Noemi Press, and co-editor of Angels of the Americlypse: New Latin@ Writing (Counterpath Press, 2014)
Layli Long Soldier (English, Diné College), a Lannan Literary Fellow, recipient of a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation artist fellowship and a Whiting Writers Award, and author of the forthcoming Whereas (Graywolf, 2017)
- Dawn Lundy Martin (English, University of Pittsburgh), co-founder of The Third Wave Foundation and Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP), whose most recent book, Life In A Box Is A Pretty Life, received a 2015 LAMBDA Literary Award for Best Lesbian Poetry
- Kai Green (Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara), a scholar, poet, and film maker who combines scholarship, art and activism in his research on race, gender, and sexuality in black LGBT communities and cultural production
Microsoft Auditorium, Seattle Public Library-Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave.