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Solmaz Sharif

September 22, 2016

SHARIF FINAL“When it comes to the language of the powerful, I have zero qualms in reclaiming maimed language. My goal there is to disrupt and instigate. It is my responsibility to do so, in fact.”

Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Boston ReviewWitness, and others. The former managing director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, her work has been recognized with  a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, scholarships from NYU and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a winter fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, an NEA fellowship, and a Stegner Fellowship. She has most recently been selected to receive a 2014 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award as well as a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. She is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University. Her first poetry collection, LOOK, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2016.

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Tyehimba Jess

September 22, 2016

JESS FINAL“I believe I have the ownership to write about anything that I want.  However, I also have the obligation to write about it with compassion, nuance, intelligence, and to try my best to write at the highest standards of those who practice the craft.”

Tyehimba Jess is the author of Leadbelly and OlioLeadbelly was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” Olio, published in 2016, has been called “Encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant…” by Publisher’s Weekly‘s starred review, and a “daring collection, which blends forthright, musically acute language with portraiture” by Library Journal.

Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU Alumni, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004-2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team, and won a 2000 – 2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. He exhibited his poetry at the 2011 TedX Nashville Conference. Jess is Poetry and Fiction Editor of African American Review, faculty at Pacific University MFA program, and Associate Professor of English at College of Staten Island.

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