"Poetry, Place, Displacement" Symposium Gathers Distinguished Poets and Scholars

Friday, April 1, 2022
2:00 - 6:00 PM

Please join us Friday, April 1, for "Poetry, Place, Displacement," a symposium hosted by the Center for Poetry & Poetics. The event will bring together several renowned poets, scholars, and poet-scholars to discuss such questions as: How do poems represent place and displacement? How do they differ from other ways of mapping place? How do they attest to histories of human and environmental dislocation? Following an afternoon of panel presentations and interactive dialogue, the symposium will conclude with a reading and reflections by the Jamaican poet Kei Miller, who won the prestigious Forward Prize for the best poetry collection of 2014. 


"Poetry, Place, Displacement"

Friday, April 1, 2022

2:00 - 6:00 PM

Brown College Tent

Free Admission



2:00-3:15 PM    Panel 1 

     Chair: Daniel Borzutzky 

        Sonya Posmentier, "Lyrics of the Freedom Schools and Freedom Farms"

        Harris Feinsod, "Commonplacing the Commons in the Poetry of the Hemispheric Left"

3:30-4:45 PM    Panel 2

     Chair: Samantha Stephens

        Rachel Galvin, "Rewriting América"

        Vidyan Ravinthiran, "Four Versions of a Sri Lankan Poem"

5:00-6:00 PM    Kei Miller, Poetry Reading and Reflections 

6:00-7:00 PM    Reception



Harris Feinsod is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of The Poetry of the Americas: From Good Neighbors to Countercultures (2017), co-translator (with Rachel Galvin) of Oliverio Girondo’s Decals: Complete Early Poems (2018), and director of Open Door Archive. His current projects include a cultural history of modernism from the standpoint of the seaways, and a co-edited anthology of global anticolonial thought. 

Rachel Galvin is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. Her book News of War: Civilian Poetry 1936-1945 examines how poets confront the problem of writing about war, with a focus on literatures of the Spanish Civil War and World War II, and an epilogue on poetry published in the U.S. about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is currently working on a book project on Latinx poetry and hemispheric poetics. Galvin is also a poet and a translator. Her collections include Elevated Threat Level, a finalist for the National Poetry Series, and Uterotopia, forthcoming from Persea Books this fall. She translated Raymond Queneau's Hitting the Streets, winner of the 2014 Scott Moncrieff Prize for Translation, and co-translated (with Harris Feinsod) Decals by Oliverio Girondo, finalist for the 2019 National Translation Award. She is a 2021-2022 National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellow.

Sonya Posmentier is an associate professor in the Department of English at New York University, where she teaches African American and Black Diasporic literature and culture, poetry and poetics, and environmental literature. Her first book, Cultivation and Catastrophe: The Lyric Ecology of Modern Black Literature, was published in 2017 by Johns Hopkins University Press, and is a recipient of the William Sanders Scarborough award from the Modern Language Association. She is at work on a new book, Black Reading, about the intersecting histories of black cultural studies and modern lyric theory. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, American Literature, American Literary History, Public Books and elsewhere, and she has published poems in Grey, Seneca Review, and Perihelion. She is a member of the Postcolonial, Race, and Diaspora Studies Working Group and of the NYU Sanctuary Coalition.

Vidyan Ravinthiran, the child of Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants to England, now teaches at Harvard. He's the author of two books of verse: The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here won a Northern Writers Award, was a PBS Recommendation, and was shortlisted for the Forward and the T.S. Eliot Prizes. His essays for Poetry won the Editor's Prize for Reviewing, and Elizabeth Bishop's Prosaic won both the University English Prize and the Warren-Brooks Award for Outstanding Literary Criticism. Spontaneity and Form in Modern Prose is forthcoming from OUP; A Repertoire of Perceptions: Essays on Poetry and Poetics, from Columbia University Press; and a fusion of memoir and literary criticism, Asian/Other: A Life in Poetry, from Norton and Icon. Vidyan is editing, with Seni Seneviratne and Shash Trevett, the first anthology of Sri Lankan and diasporic poetry (in English, and with translations from Sinhala and Tamil), to be published by Bloodaxe Books.

Kei Miller is a prizewinning poet, novelist, essayist, and short-story writer. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica,  he studied at the University of the West Indies, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the University of Glasgow,  and he has taught at (among other institutions) the University of Exeter, Royal Holloway (University of London), and the University of Miami, where he is currently Professor of English. His many books include the short-story collection The Fear of Stones, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers‘ Prize in 2007; The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion, winner of the Forward Prize for the best poetry collection of 2014; the novel Augustown, winner of the 2017 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean literature; and the essay collection Things I Have Withheld, shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction in 2021. In 2018 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) and awarded the Anthony N Sabga Medal for Excellence in Arts & Letters.