Drinking Gourd Chapbook Launch, January 19th

Join us for an evening of poetry as we celebrate the fourth Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize. The evening will include readings from Mayda Del Valle and Jenny Xie, the winners of 2016 Drinking Gourd Prize.

Mayda Del Valle is a poet and performer. A proud native of Chicago’s South Side, she appeared on Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on HBO and was a contributing writer and original cast member of the Tony Award–winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. She is currently program director of the poetry-based, nonprofit youth organization Street Poets Inc., and a dancer and vocalist with the Los Angeles–based Afro-Puerto Rican bomba group Cunyá. Her chapbook, The University of Hip-Hop, is a love letter to the city of Chicago, more specifically a particular moment in Chicago—of growth and development, coming of age, of learning how to construct a new self from old-world customs and new-school traditions.

Jenny Xie’s work appears in Tin House, the New Republic, Harvard Review, the Literary Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She teaches at New York University and lives in Brooklyn. Her collection of poems, Nowhere to Arrive, takes as its subjects the whiplash of travel, the shuttling between disparate places and climes, and an unremitting sense of dislocation. These poems court the tension between the familiar and the foreign, between the self as distinct and the self as illusory. They look plainly at the startling strangeness of varied landscapes and mindscapes, and interrogate a state of unrootedness—one thrown into relief by the speaker’s years abroad in Southeast Asia.

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