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Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series

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Black Lives Matter Statement

The Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series is a collective of poets, teachers, students, and academics working to open up creative spaces within the Norman and greater Oklahoma City communities. We are collectively outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, and by the traumas inflicted on all victims of the policing of Black bodies. We believe Black Lives Matter. And we acknowledge how the effects of anti-Black racism are exacerbated for those who are also women, trans, queer, non-binary, Latinx, Muslim, Indigenous to lands occupied by Canada the United States, Jewish, disabled, and/or undocumented. We stand with the families of Oklahoma’s black and brown citizens who have died at the hands of law enforcement, including Marciona Kessee, Derrick Ollie Scott, Mah hi vist Good Blanket, Magdiel Sanchez, Luis Rodriguez, Martin Sanchez-Juarez, and others. The MAEPS joins the many voices who are now demanding justice, reform, and accountability.

The University of Oklahoma (OU) English department, which houses the MAEPS, rightly notes that our community and our university have been and continue to be impacted by systemic racism, evidenced by Norman’s history as a “sundown” town as recently as 1967; by the banning of black students at OU until the admission of George McLaurin in 1948; by the segregation of black students at OU until 1950; and by more recent events such as the Sigma Alpha Epsilon incident in 2015 and instances of blackface on campus just this past year.

With the OU English department and with Ibram X. Kendi, we acknowledge that the racism fueling police brutality against our neighbors is not only “out there,” but also in here, in us. We pledge to do our part in the struggle to dismantle systemic racism.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also given rise to numerous anti-Asian racist attacks in North America, Europe, the South Pacific, and South Asia, and while we condemn these anti-Asian hate crimes, we recognize that such xenophobic violence is tied to imperial and colonial structures that also manifest in anti-Indigeneity, racialized classism, and antiblackness around the world.

We at the MAEPS are watching the STEM field grappling with the injustices of the history of Western science: the #ShutdownSTEM movement (see www.shutdownstem.com) noted that “Institutional science has stolen knowledge, technology, health, wellness, and life from Black people,” and that “Western science owes Black people reparations.” (And we greatly recommend taking a look at their resources page: https://www.shutdownstem.com/resources)

Similarly, we might ask: in what ways has American/Anglophone poetry engaged in anti-Black practices of reading, publishing, and promoting, and in what ways does it continue to be anti-Black?

Poetry as a genre in the United States, but also Anglophone poetry generally, has a problematic and often anti-Black history, given that many Western/American cultural institutions have historically defined and delimited not just what poetry “is,” or what “good” poetry is (in turn excluding many voices and texts that do not meet those agreed-upon standards of “taste”), but also determine which voices are read, showcased, published, celebrated, and taught.

We at MAEPS are thinking about our past and present programming, our events, our guest speakers, and the cultural identities of our co-directors, and are working to make the MAEPS an antiracist arts group, rather than simply diverse in its program offerings. Moreover, we want to affirm that our commitment to this statement and to the following actions will not wane.

What specific actions might the MAEPS take in working to become an antiracist poetry series? We offer the following as starting points:

  • Work to dismantle anti-Black racism in ourselves and in our relationships with one another.
  • Amplify the work of Black, trans, non-binary, queer, Indigenous, Latinx, Muslim, Jewish, Asian, disabled, and/or undocumented poets.
  • In efforts to counter anti-Blackness, we will open up our collective, co-curatorial model of producing the reading series, asking guest curators of color to invite friends, poets, and artists to present their work via the MAEPS--rather than simply relying on our own limited networks of poets and friends.
  • Often, our visiting poets will visit local school classrooms to hold workshops for elementary, middle, and high school students. We will expand the schools and classes we visit, offering funding to BIPOC teachers in under-resourced schools in the OKC metro area to bring in BIPOC poets to conduct workshops with their students. These workshops will affirm Black youth inside schools in order to transform the anti-Black racist ways that they have experienced American schooling.

About the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series

Serving the communities of OU and central Oklahoma, the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series (MAEPS) strives to connect readers to contemporary poetry and poetics by giving students and residents alike an opportunity to listen to and speak with poets from all over the United States and beyond. The poetry universe is diverse, teeming with different styles, philosophies, politics, and worldviews, but one thing draws it together: a poetry reading is a performance, and in the act of its verbal offering, poetry gives rise to its own social space and time. A poetry reading offers readers a chance to not only hear poetry ("sounds in time"), but to experience poetry with others, a quite different experience from the solitary act of reading. Every semester, the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series offers Oklahomans the opportunity to become a part of this unique and exciting social space, to purchase poetry books (and have them signed), and to join the ongoing conversations that give life to poetry today.

Building on the legacy of OU's Contemporary Authors Series (directed by James Yoch), the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series was co-founded in 2007 by Jonathan Stalling (Director) and Nancy Yoch. During its first two years the series was codirected by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (2007–2008) and Jeanetta Calhoun Mish (2009–2010). It is currently run by Jonathan Stalling, Crag Hill, Todd Fuller, Timothy Bradford, and Sara Wilson. The series is sponsored by the Everett Family Fund, the OU College of Arts and Sciences, and the OU College of International Studies. In the past, the MAEPS has been sponsored by the OU Honors College, World Literature Today, the SOUNDS OUT Poetry Series of the OU Expository Writing Program, the FOCAS Lecture Series, and the OU Department of English, as well as the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Spring 2020 Calendar of Events

This Spring 2020, the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series threw our first two virtual/online poetry events! In April, the MAEPS co-sponsored a virtual open mic with OU Write Club, featuring Spoken Word Poet Rudy Francisco. We also hosted our first online poetry reading with guests Iliana Rocha and Janine Joseph. Look for more events this Fall 2020!

January

Julie Dawkins | Jan. 21 | Bartlett Room, OUMM

February

Jeff Martin | Feb. 20 | Mainsite Contemporary Art

Emergence Anthology Poetry Reading | Feb. 27| Norman Public Library Central

March

Paul Juhasz | March 24 | (This event was canceled—look for Paul in our Fall 2020 events!)

April

Janine Joseph and Iliana Rocha | April 21 | Online via Zoom

Virtual Open mic feat. Rudy Francisco | April 23 | Online via Zoom

Join us this Fall 2020 for a semester filled with poetry! See our Facebook page for timely details on each event: https://www.facebook.com/MAEPoetrySeries/

Past Events: Fall 2019

Join us for a semester filled with poetry! See our Facebook page for timely details on each event: https://www.facebook.com/MAEPoetrySeries/

September

Ken Hada | Sept. 10 | Mainsite Gallery

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo | Sept. 18 | Regents and Associates Rooms, OU Memorial Union

October

Sarah McKinstry-Brown | Oct. 2 | Mainsite Gallery

US-China Poetics Dialog | Oct. 8 and 9 | Various locations

Kyle Schlesinger | Oct. 10 | Associates Room, OU Memorial Union

Mary Gray and Logan White | Oct. 23 | Mainsite Gallery

Alexander Dickow | Oct. 29 | The Depot

November

Bocafloja | Nov. 6 | Scholars Room, OU Memorial Union

Laura Da | Nov. 14 | Mainsite Gallery

Mark Allen Everett Visiting Poets, 2007-2020

Hugh Tribbey     |    Zhang Er    |    Lorna Dee Cervantes    |    Barbara Daniels   

Grant Jenkins and Cheryl Pallant    |    Tod Marshall    |    Charles Alexander 

Kimberly Roppolo    |    JL Jacobs    |    Jim Barnes    |    Adrienne Willi    |    Mary Gray 

Steve Sexton     |    Kacy Beck    |    Justin Massey    |    John Blake Wolf   

Evan Noble    |    Yun Wang    |    Sarah Dorn    |    Natasha Trethewey

George Bilgere    |    Michelle Yeh    |    Glenn Mott    |    Afaa Michael Weaver

Stanley Lombardo    |    Judith Roitman    |    Hank Lazer    |    Keorapetse Kgositsile

Myung Mi Kim    |    Joseph Harrington    |    Mei Mei Berssenbrugge   

Carolyne Wright    |    Tom Raworth    |    Gerald Stern    |    Anne Marie Macari

Wolfgang Kubin    |    Kate Greenstreet    |    Wang Jiaxin    |    Jim McCrary

Kyle Schlesinger    |    James Yeary    |    David Abel    |    Joshua Edwards     

Lynn Xu    |    Megan Kaminski    |    Lisa Lewis    |    Rose McLarney    |    Zack Rogow 

Anne Waldman    |    JD Whitney    |    Mike Angelotti     |    Freeda Richardson

Jaap Blonk    |    Chad Reynolds    |    Albert Goldbarth    |    Matt Henriksen

Sara Nicolson C. Violet Eaton    |    Jessica Isaacs    |    Pierre Joris   

Benjamin Myers    |    Simon Ortiz    |    Devin Smith    |    Wai-lim Yip    |    Sly Alley

Paul Austin    |    Xi Chuan    |    Natalie Diaz    |    Craig Dworkin   

Stephen Fredman    |    Wang Guangming    |    Joy Harjo    |    Joe Harrington

Tim Lantz    |    erica lewis    |    Denis Mair    |    Brent Newsom   

Alan Michael Parker    |    Li Songtao    |    Arthur Sze    |    Timothy Bradford

Jason Poudrier    |    bruce bond    |    Lowell Jaeger    |    Robert Dale Parker

Lewis Freedman    |    Quraysh Ali Lansana    |    Matt Guenette    |    Tammy Ho

Xi Xi    |    Ilya Kaminsky    |    Eileen Tabios    |    Jeanetta Calhoun Mish

Ron Silliman    |    Bojan Louis    |    Ken Hada    |    marcelo hernandez castillo

Julie Dawkins    |    Jeff Martin    |    Paul Juhasz    |    Janine Joseph    | Iliana Rocha

  

U.S.-China Poetry Dialogue


The US-China Poetry Dialogue, sponsored by the Institute for US-China Issues at the University of Oklahoma and the Poetry Institute of China, brings international, national and regional poets together for a week of travel, public conversations, readings, and workshops across different regions in the United States and in China. The dialogue on odd years brings these poets and scholars from the US and China to the University of Oklahoma in the United States, and on even years to Beijing University in China. The focus of the dialogue is to discuss the state of poetry, literature, and art in the US and China, while also exploring the role of arts in cross-cultural communication and understanding.

According to the Dialogue Director Jonathan Stalling: “The Newman US-China Poetry Dialogue was created in the belief that US-China relations cannot be built upon business and policy transactions alone. Rather, we must draw on our shared experiences of what matters most to us, and be cognizant of what could be lost. Literature, especially poetry, can give us insight into the future of our relationship, one that flickers into view in the partial light of our hopes and fears. Poetry has been and remains a vibrant force in both China and the US and provides both nations with a shared cultural space, a public square within which people can share and contest ideas but also find the quiet, personal moments that form the foundation of human flourishing.”

To learn more, please visit https://us-china-poetry-dialogue.oucreate.com.