January 26th 2016: Drinking Gourd Launch

Join us for an evening of words and music, as we celebrate the third Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize. Renowned author Chris Abani will join Nicole Sealey, winner of the 2015 Drinking Gourd Prize. The evening will include readings from Professor Abani’s diverse and extensive body of work, Sealey’s winning chapbook, The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, and live performances by Tatsu Aoki, a Chicago-based bassist and Shamisen Lute player. Copies of Lin’s chapbook, just released from Northwestern University Press, will be available for sale.

Chris Abani is an acclaimed author. His most recent novel is The Secret History of Las Vegas. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. Born in Nigeria, he is currently a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University.

Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is a Cave Canem graduate fellow as well as the recipient of a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. She is the author of The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the 2015 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize, forthcoming from Northwestern University Press. Her other honors include the 2014 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, a 2013 Daniel Varoujan Award and the 2012 Poetry International Prize. Her work has appeared in Best New Poets 2011, Copper Nickel, Ploughshares, Third Coast, and elsewhere. Nicole holds an MLA in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. She is the Programs Director at Cave Canem Foundation.

Born in Japan into an artisan family, Tatsu Aoki is a prolific artist, composer, musician, educator and a consummate bassist and Shamisen Lute player. Based in Chicago, Aoki works in a wide range of musical genres, ranging from traditional Japanese music, jazz, experimental and creative music and is a leading advocate for the Asian American community, as well a filmmaker, and an educator. Aoki was named one of 2001’s “Chicagoans of the year” by Chicago Tribune for his music. Aoki’s suite ROOTED: Origins of Now, a four-movement suite for big band, premiered in 2001 at Ping Tom Memorial Park, and was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and at MCA Stage as part of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival. Additional notable releases include Basser Live (1999) and Basser Live II (2005), recorded live at MCA Stage; The MIYUMI Project (2000), Symphony of Two Cities (2002), and Posture of Reality with Wu Man (2003). The Asian American Institute awarded Aoki the Milestone Award in 2007 for his contribution to Chicago-area arts. In 2010, he received the Japan America Society of Chicago’s Cultural Achievement Award and the “Living in our Culture” award this year by the Japanese American Service Committee.
The Poetry and Poetics, in conjunction with the Colloquium “Words in Transit,” invites you to join Brazilian artist Rodrigo Garcia Lopes. He will be part of a round table on translation on November 19th, 12-2pm, at Hagstrum Room (University Hall, 201). Northwestern Professors Reginald Gibbons, Clare Cavanagh, and Andrew Leong will be his respondents and the facilitators of the debate. A light lunch will be served.

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