Writers on Greenwood: Acclaimed poet to share his story in public reading and craft talk
A celebrated new voice is sharing his art, story and experience with Tulsa.
Justin Phillip Reed is the featured artist at the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa’s annual Writers on Greenwood event Thursday, Nov. 14. The poet and essayist will share his expertise in a workshop at 6:30 p.m. in Helmerich Research Center 157, followed by a public reading of his work and a conversation with poetry scholar and OSU assistant professor Dr. Andrew Belton at 7:30 p.m.
“Writers on Greenwood celebrates diversity in the literary arts,” Dr. Lindsey Claire Smith, director of the center, said. “There are so many talented and accomplished writers who aren’t always visible in the mainstream publishing market but who are transforming literature.”
Smith was cheering on an OSU alumnus and nominee during last year’s National Book Award ceremony when she first discovered Reed. “I knew we had to get him to Tulsa,” Smith said. “His story is inspirational – a high school expellee and ex-college dropout. He now has some of the most impressive credentials in creative writing.”
A renowned new artist
Reed’s “Indecency” won the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry and was a finalist for the 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem and the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. Reed is also the author of “A History of Flamboyance” and his second full-length collection of poetry already creating buzz in literary circles, “The Malevolent Volume,” is set to be released in the spring.
Organizers say those who don’t consider themselves a writer, or even a reader, won’t feel left out at Writers on Greenwood.
“Those who think poetry is too hard or disconnected from everyday life – this reading is for you,” Smith said. “Justin engages his audience powerfully, and his work speaks to themes that we are grappling with here in Tulsa and in Greenwood.”
Poets in conversation
OSU professor Belton will be joining Reed for conversation around his work. Belton’s book project, “Hip Hop Illiterate: Hermeneutics for the Future of Literary Theory and Criticism,” puts cultural icons of hip hop like Rakim, Nas and Lauryn Hill in critical conversation with black writers like Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois and Alice Walker.
“I’m really excited for the conversation between Justin and Andrew. Andrew is a scholar of African American poetry with a particular interest in new talent,” Smith said.
This is the third installment of the Writers on Greenwood series. Previous featured artists have included Allison Hedge Coke and A. Van Jordan.
If you miss this event, the Center for Poets and Writers has a lot more planned.
“We’ll host a local writer for Writers on Greenwood at the Tulsa LitFest in April,” Smith said. “This will be another way to support and give visibility to diverse writers who are telling Oklahoma stories.”
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