I’ve been wanting to get Adrian Matejka in a pairing since I came on board in 2013, and when Taylor mentioned he was hoping to get someone paired with Qunicy Troupe, I couldn’t believe our good fortune. Both poets compose incredibly musical verse lines, both often make music their subject matter – music not just as entertainment or a vehicle for celebrity, but music that connects deeply to the soul and is engaging in the forming and articulating of identities. Both poets are lyrical historians of a sort, examining both the communal past and their own personal pasts, often weaving these together, and employing wordplay, rhythm and the verse line’s internal resonances to wrestle meaning from within meaning. Hope is what often arises, even amidst the most tragic and sorrowful of narratives. Hope, and a reach for glory, a willingness to find glory everywhere. So I am beyond excited to see these two daring, deft writers converse, to see what resonances we’ll encounter when their work shares the same space. – John Paul Davis
Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in California and Indiana. A graduate of the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003) which won the New York / New England Award and Mixology (Penguin, 2009), a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. Mixology was subsequently nominated for an NAACP Image Award. His new collection, The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), examines the life of the boxer Jack Johnson and is a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award. He is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and fellowships from Cave Canem and the Lannan Foundation. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry 2010, Gulf Coast, Ploughshares, and Poetry, among other journals and anthologies. He teaches creative writing and literature at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Quincy Troupe is an awarding-winning author of ten volumes of poetry, three children’s books, and six non-fiction works; Earl the Pearl: My Story, a memoir of legendary NY Knicks basketball star, Earl Monroe, (Rodale, April 2013) is Troupe’s newest non-fiction work. In 2010 Troupe received the American Book Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement. Among Troupe’s best-selling works are Miles: The Autobiography of Miles Davis and his memoir, Miles & Me soon to become a major motion picture.
Other notable works are The Pursuit of Happyness, an autobiography with written with Chris Gardner that became a major motion picture and that was a New York Times bestseller for over 40 weeks; The Architecture of Language, a book of poems, that won the 2007 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, and Transcircularities: New and Selected Poems, which won the 2003 Milt Kessler Poetry Award and was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the ten best books of poetry in 2002.
Errançities is his most recent book of poetry. A new children’s book, Hallelujah: The Story of Ray Charles with illustrations by Brian Pinkney, will be published by Disney/Hyperion.
Quincy Troupe is professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego, and editor of Black Renaissance Noire, a literary journal of the Institute of Africana Studies at New York University.
Born in Detroit, Tyehimba Jess is the rare poet who bridges slam and academic poetry. His first collection, leadbelly (2005), an exploration of the blues musician Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter’s life, was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Brigit Pegeen Kelly, and was voted one of the top three poetry books of the year by Black Issues Book Review. A two-time member of the Chicago Green Mill Slam team, Jess was also Chicago’s Poetry Ambassador to Accra, Ghana. A former artist-in-residence with Cave Canem, Jess has taught at the Juilliard School, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and at the College of Staten Island in New York City.
Nkosi Nkululeko, the 2016 NYC Youth Poet Laureate, is a Callaloo and The Watering Hole fellow. A nominee for the American Voices Award, Independent Best American Poetry Award, and the Pushcart Prize, Nkululeko was a member of the 2014 Urban Word NYC Slam Team and 2015 NYC-Urbana Slam Team. His work is published currently or is forthcoming in No Token, Rose Red Review, Hobart, decomP and elsewhere. He lives in Harlem, New York, listening to jazz.
Tim Seibles, born in Philadelphia in 1955, is the author of several poetry collections including Hurdy-Gurdy, Hammerlock, and Buffalo Head Solos. His first book, Body Moves, (1988) has just been re-released by Carnegie Mellon U. Press as part of their Contemporary Classics series. His latest, Fast Animal, was one of five poetry finalists for the 2012 National Book Award. In 2013 he received the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award for poetry—also for Fast Animal. Tim was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Misericordia University for his literary accomplishments. Most recently, he received the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award for Fast Animal, a prize given triennially for a collection of poems.
During the spring semester of 2010, Tim was poet-in-residence at Bucknell University. A National Endowment for the Arts fellow, he also enjoyed a seven-month writing fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in Massachusetts. His poetry is featured in several anthologies; among them are: Rainbow Darkness; The Manthology; Autumn House Contemporary American Poetry; Black Nature; Evensong; Villanelles; and Sunken Garden Poetry. His poem “Allison Wolff” was included in Best American Poetry 2010 and, most recently, his poem “Sotto Voce: Othello, Unplugged” was featured in Best American Poetry 2013.
He has been a workshop leader for Cave Canem, a writer’s retreat for African American poets, and for the Hurston/Wright Foundation, another organization dedicated to developing black writers. He lives in Norfolk, Virginia, where he is a member of the English and MFA in writing faculty at Old Dominion University.
William Evans is a writer, instructor and performer from Columbus, OH. As the founder of the Writing Wrongs Poetry Slam (September ’08), William has created the largest weekly poetry open mic currently operating in the city. William also founded the NuGrowth Youth Poetry Slam in Columbus, OH in addition to hosting the first ever Columbus All District High School Poetry Slam in April 2009.
As an artist, William is one the most successful performance poets to come from Columbus and the state of Ohio as a whole. He has made three finals stages at the National level, most recently finishing fifth overall at the Individual World Poetry Slam. In 2011, he was a member of the first Columbus Team to make a Finals at the National Poetry. He has performed on eight Columbus National Teams while being an artist in residence for both the Columbus Wexner Center and Columbus City Schools in 2012.
William released his first full-length manuscript, In the Event You are Caught Behind Enemy Lines in August 2009 on Penmanship Books of Brooklyn, NY. Previous to that, he released a chapbook, Humble Shell Casings on JK Publishing in addition to two poetry CDs: Living in the Hour Glass (2006) and Measure (2007).
Currently, William Evans tours the country and facilitates writing workshops thru Projecting Murals LLC, a non-profit organization that connects facilities such as schools, community centers & correctional facilities to artists from the community. He founded the company in April 2009.
When we first thought of pairing Thomas Fucaloro and Nick Flynn together, my heart nodded in agreement. One thing I love about both of these poets is their uncanny sense of surprise. These poets are risk takers. They demand their readers take leaps. There is also a deep sense of play in each of their writing, (and I don’t mean silly, as each poet explores trauma and grief with rooted authority,) I mean a true humorous eye, a willingness to flip an image upside down so we can finally recognize it. Each poet is devoted in his own way to irreverence, and I’m excited to witness the way their poems will spark back and forth. – April Ranger
Thomas Fucaloro‘s latest book is out now by Three Rooms Press called It Starts From the Belly and Blooms. He is a founding editor for Great Weather for Media and editor for Staten Island’s new literary magazine NYSAI. He teaches poetry workshops at the NEON Bronx Probation Center, Writopia Lab, The Acorn Youth Treatment Center and the Staten Island LGBTQ Community Center. He just received his MFA in creative writing from the New School. He has a new chapbook coming out soon through Tired Hearts Press called Mistakes Disguised as Stars.
Nick Flynn is the author of three memoirs, The Reenactments, The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment, and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which has been made into a film, Being Flynn, starring Robert DeNiro as Flynn’s father, Julianne Moore, and Paul Dano. He is also the author of three books of poetry, The Captain Asks For a Show of Hands, Some Ether, which won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and Blind Huber. His fourth book of poetry, My Feelings, is forthcoming in 2015. He has been awarded fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, The Amy Lowell Trust, and The Fine Arts Work Center. His poems, essays, and non-fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio’s “This American Life,”and The New York Times Book Review.
Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is a Cave Canem graduate fellow. 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.
Additional 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, 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.
Megan Falley is the author of two full-length collections of poetry on Write Bloody Publishing, After the Witch Hunt (2012) and Redhead and the Slaughter King (2014). Her chapbook Bad Girls, Honey [Poems About Lana Del Rey] is the winner of the Tired Hearts Press Contest. She is a Women of the World and National Poetry Slam finalist, winner of the 2015 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam and has been featured on TV One’s Verses & Flow. Her work has been published in Rattle, PANK, Pen Center USA’s The Rattling Wall among other literary journals. She is the creator of the online writing course, Poems That Don’t Suck. Megan is currently on tour with poet Olivia Gatwood as a part of Speak Like A Girl, an interactive, educational, feminist spoken word show. When she is not writing and touring the country, she is singing dirty songs sweetly on her ukulele.
Ocean Vuong is the author of Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). A 2014 Ruth Lilly fellow, he has received honors from Kundiman, Poets House, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation (Italy), The Elizabeth George Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, and a 2014 Pushcart Prize. His poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Nation, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly , Best New Poets 2014, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the 2012 Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. He lives in Queens, NY. (www.oceanvuong.com)
Aziza Barnes is a Los Angeles native brown woman poet living in Bedstuy, New York. Her first chapbook, me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun, was published July 2013 from Button Poetry Press. You can find her work in Muzzle Magazine, NYU’s The Grey Area, West 10th Literary Journal, PLUCK! and Callaloo. Aziza has also attended Callaloo’s inaugural UK workshop in the fall of 2013. She is the recipient of the 2013-14 NYU Gallery Prize for Radical Presence in Black Contemporary Art for her poem “descendants.” Aziza travels and performs her work at various universities around the country, giving workshops on the craft of poetry. She writes for members of the Diaspora, to promote transformative empathy and for her ancestors, both known and unknown.
Rickey Laurentiis is the author of Boy with Thorn, selected by Terrance Hayes for the 2014 Cave Canem Poetry Prize (University of Pittsburgh Press, Fall 2015). He is the recipient of many honors, including a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems appear in Poetry, The New Republic, New York Times, Kenyon Review and Boston Review, among other journals. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, he currently resides in Brooklyn.
Janae Johnson is a spoken word poet, teaching artist, educator, and organizer originally from Sacramento, California. She was a finalist at the 2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam Festival and serves as one of the founders and slammasters at The House Slam poetry venue in Boston, MA.
Janae’s work is primarily centered on her love, her sexuality and her blackness. She is the coach and advisor for the Simmons College Speaks Poetry Slam Team and is committed to creating safe artistic spaces for queer people of color. Janae also appreciates black musicals, Stevie Wonder songs and pineapple-based smoothies. She currently resides in Roxbury, MA.
Victoria Redel is the author of four books of fiction and three books of poetry. Of her most recent poetry collection, Woman Without Umbrella, Major Jackson writes, “So possessed are we by her radiant wisdom, that inner splendor gained from the craft of fearless engagement in language with one’s powers as well as one’s missteps, in her glorious journey on earth.” Her work has been awarded numerous awards including the S Mariela Gable Award, The Tom and Stan Wick Poetry Award and her novel Loverboy was adapted for a feature film. Her fiction and poetry have been widely anthologized. Redel’s work has been translated into five languages. Redel is a professor at Sarah Lawrence College. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for The Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center.
Eboni Hogan is an award-winning poet, playwright and teaching artist who has performed in over 35 U.S. cities as well as internationally in Ghana, Germany, India and Austria. She was the 2008 Urbana Grand Slam Champion and has represented the Nuyorican Slam team, twice. Eboni was the 2010 Women of the World Grand Slam Champion.
This coming November 11, 2015, virtually 10 years to the day after the very first pairing of Page Meets Stage, several alumni of the 80 pairings that have happened since will join together with a few emerging voices to celebrate this amazing series “where the Pulitzer Prize meets the poetry slam.” The event will take place at 7:00 pm at our new venue in New York City:
The Celebration of Whimsy
21 Clinton Street
(just south of Houston)
The show is FREE, but there are only 99 seas in the theater, and we recommend registering/obtaining a ticket through Eventbrite here.
Mahogany L. Browne
The Cave Canem and Poets House alumni is the author of several books including Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution & About.com Best Poetry Books of 2010. Mahogany bridges the gap between lyrical poets and literary emcee. Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and recently Australia as 1/3 of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics. Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada’s The Word and UK’s MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Manhattanville Review, Muzzle, Union Station Mag, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary, Joint & The Feminist Wire. She is anticipating the release of several poetry collections in 2015: Smudge (Button Poetry), Redbone (Willow Books) & the anthology The Break Beat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Harcourt). She is an Urban Word NYC mentor, as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. Brown is also the publisher of Penmanship Books, the Nuyorican Poets Café Poetry Program Director and Friday Night Slam curator and currently an MFA Candidate for Writing & Activism at Pratt Institute.
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. He lives in Chicago. More at http://www.chrisabani.com