Feed on

So begins a new year and a new era of reading series. How should we proceed? To move forward we must also look back at who we were and what has made us. Generations smile at each other. We stand on the shoulders of our elders but bear their weight to form an impossible human tower that still stretches out into the horizon. Once in a while, we look back and up to reaffirm these bonds, their solemn weight.

The Ernest Sandeen Memorial Reading commemorates the poet, scholar and teacher, Ernest Sandeen. A distinguished senior poet is invited to give the reading and selects a younger poet to read alongside him or her, thus honoring both Ernest Sandeen’s accomplishment as a poet and his many decades of mentorship at the University of Notre Dame. In this spirit, Claudia Rankine has invited Solmaz Sharif to read with her on Thursday, January 26, 2017, in McKenna Hall Auditorium at Notre Dame. The reading begins at 7:30 PM. It is free and open to the public.

Additionally, there is a Q&A with Claudia Rankine at 3:30 PM on the same day, in room 100-104 McKenna Hall. Like the reading, everybody is welcome to attend and learn.

Claudia Rankine, the recipient of a 2016 MacArthur ‘genius’ grant, is the author of five collections of poetry including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; and numerous video collaborations. She is the editor of anthologies including The Racial imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind and America Poets in the 21st Century. For Citizen, Rankine won the Forward Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the NAACP Image Award. Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry.

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, 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 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 lecturer at Stanford University. Her first poetry collection, LOOK, published by Graywolf Press in 2016, is a finalist for the National Book Award.

Through reexamination of our souls, their pedestals, and the chamber they stand in, our words gain painful weight. For the sake of the future, we must carry those burdens and seek out new ways shoulder them from the old. This act of remembering will not be wishful nostalgia. Sandeen, Rankine, and Sharif will guide us like they have been guided so that we may guide others.


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