Living Writers Series Fall 2022

Conversations: Power Forged


This series features several poets, novelists, academics, curators, and artists in conversation with one another, in person, across genre and media, to open up a space between  them, and all of us, within dialogue, collaboration, politics, intimacy and difference which poet and activist Audre Lorde describes as that raw and powerful connection from which our personal power is forged.  Between legacies, institutions, families, embodiments and homes, across race, gender, sexuality, and class, guests will explore just how.


Thursdays, 5:20 to 6:55 PM  Humanities 1 Lecture Hall 206, unless otherwise indicated below ***


***October 20 Virtual Event from 6:00pm - 7:30pm: Undisciplining the Fields: Study, Performance, and (Re:)Creation Tonya Foster in Conversation with Ronaldo V. Wilson, as Part of the Marcus Chair in Poetry Reading, presented in collaboration with The Poetry Center and San Francisco State University.

Undisciplining the Fields is a new conversation, reading, (and sometimes performance) series that invites poets, writers, artists, filmmakers, and scholars from a range of fields to discuss and share their cross-disciplinary practices and thinking, to share their work. Created by SFSU George & Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Poetry Tonya M. Foster, in collaboration with The Poetry Center, the series is envisioned as an unruly exploration of the ways that practice expertise is developed and encouraged through interest, study, play, camaraderie, and accident; and of the ways that creativity motivates / instigates investigations of the possible. Our first collaborating undiscipliner will be Dr. Ronaldo V. Wilson, Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at the UC Santa Cruz.

Join us on Thursday, October 20, 2022 at SFSU in HUM 512. Doors open at 5:30pm. Event starts at 6pm If you are unable to attend in person, a livestream recording is available here: 

Tonya M. Foster is a poet, essayist, and Black feminist scholar. She is the author of A Swarm of Bees in High Court, the bilingual chapbook La Grammaire des Os; and co-editor of Third Mind: Teaching Creative Writing through Visual Art. Her writing and research focus on poetry, poetics, ideas of place and emplacement, and on intersections between the visual and the written. Dr. Foster is a poetry editor at Fence Magazine and a member of the San Francisco Writers Grotto. Forthcoming publications include poetry collections—Thingifications (Ugly Duckling Presse) and AHotB (A History of the Bitch); anthologies—The Umbra Galaxy (Wesleyan University Press) (a 2-volume compendium on the Umbra Writers Workshop), and New Writing, New Flesh: An Anthology (Nightboat Books), an anthology of experimental creative drafts. Her poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Other Influences (MIT Press), New Weathers Anthology (Nightboat Books); The Difference Is Spreading: Fifty Contemporary Poets on Fifty Poems (UPenn Press); the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day online journal, Entropy Magazine, the A-Line Journal, Callaloo, boundary2, TripWire, Poetry Project Newsletter, The Harvard Review, Best American Experimental Writing, Letters to the Future: Black Women/Radical Writing, and elsewhere. She was a member of the multi-disciplinary advisory committee for the ground-breaking exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. Her essay for the exhibition’s 2021 field guide, “Time, Memory, and Living in Shotgun Houses in the South of the South City of New Orleans,” extends her meditations on place and poetics. She is a 2021 Lisa Goldberg fellow at the Radcliffe Institute @ Harvard, a Creative Capital awardee, a recipient of awards from Macdowell, Headlands Center for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, the San Francisco Museum of the African Diaspora, and the Ford and Mellon Foundations, among others. Dr. Foster holds the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Poetry at San Francisco State University. She is a new resident in a decades old Emeryville artist’s co-operative.

Ronaldo V. Wilson, PhD, poet, interdisciplinary artist, and academic, is the author of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man, winner of the Cave Canem Prize; Poems of the Black Object, winner of the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry and the Asian American Literary Award in Poetry; Farther Traveler: Poetry, Prose, Other, finalist for a Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry; and Lucy 72.  His latest books are Carmelina: Figures and Virgil Kills: Stories.  The recipient of numerous fellowships, including Cave Canem, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Ford Foundation, Kundiman, MacDowell, The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and Yaddo, Wilson is Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at U.C. Santa Cruz, serving on the core faculty of the Creative Critical PhD Program; principal faculty member of CRES (Critical Race and Ethnic Studies); and affiliate faculty member of DANM (Digital Arts and New Media).


October 27:  Addie Tsai in conversation with Micah Perks: This is an in person event. 

Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color who teaches creative writing at the College of William & Mary. They also teach in Goddard College's MFA Program in Interdisciplinary Arts and Regis University’s Mile High MFA Program in Creative Writing. Addie collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. They earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a Ph.D. in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. Addie is the author of Dear Twin and Unwieldy Creatures. She is the Fiction co-Editor and Editor of Features & Reviews at Anomaly and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.

Micah Perks is the author of a short story collection, a memoir and two novels. Her novel, What Becomes Us, won an Independent Publisher’s Gold Medal and was named one of the Top Ten Books about the Apocalypse by The Guardian. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Epoch, Zyzzyva, Tin House, Kenyon Review, OZY and The Rumpus, amongst many journals and anthologies. She has won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the New Guard Machigonne Fiction Prize and residencies at the Blue Mountain Center and MacDowell. Micah directs the creative writing program at UCSC. More info at 


***November 3:  Natasha Tretheway. Morton Marcus Memorial Reading, Hosted by Gary Young

Thursday, November 3 at 6:00 pm Merrill Cultural Center, University of California, Santa Cruz. register at 

This is an in person event. 

Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014). She is the author of five collections of poetry, Monument (2018), which was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award; Thrall (2012); Native Guard (2006), for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002); and Domestic Work (2000), which was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. She is also the author of the memoir Memorial Drive (2020). Her book of nonfiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, appeared in 2010. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. At Northwestern University she is a Board of Trustees Professor of English in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Mississippi and in 2013 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


November 10:  Duriel E. Harris, Bakar Wilson, Elizabeth Owuor, and Fahima Ife, a reading and conversation to celebrate the launch of "Genre Queer/ Gender Queer Playground," Obsidian: Litrature and Arts in the African Diaspora, guest edited by Ronaldo V. Wilson (moderator). 

This is an in person event. Promo code to pre-order books TBD.

Duriel E. Harris is a writer, performer, artist, and scholar. She is author of three critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, including No Dictionary of a Living Tongue (Nightboat, 2017), Drag (2003), and Amnesiac: Poems (2010). Multi-genre works include the one-woman theatrical performance Thingification, the video collaboration Speleology (2011), and the sound+image project “Blood Labyrinth.” Cofounder of The Black Took Collective, Harris is Professor of Poetry and Poetics at Illinois State University and Editor in Chief of the award-winning publishing platform Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora.

Bakar Wilson’s poetry has appeared in The Vanderbilt Review, The Lumberyard Radio Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Flicker and Spark: A Contemporary Queer Anthology, and The Ostrich Review, among others. He has performed his work at the Bowery Poetry Club, Poetry Project, The Studio Museum of Harlem, and the 2022 Whitney Biennial. A native of Memphis, TN, Bakar received his BA in English from Vanderbilt University and his MA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York. He is an Adjunct Lecturer of English and Creative Writing at Borough of Manhattan Community College at CUNY.

Elizabeth Owuor is a writer, vinyl collector, DJ, and freelance journalist who interrogates the archives of Black music history, blending intimate narrative with the collective history of her people. Her nonfiction utilizes rare blues and soul music to examine cultural inheritance, Black creative labor, and the ways in which Blackness is constructed and consumed in the U.S. and Europe. She has spun her sounds of Black resistance on vinyl all around the globe and is co-founder of Black Rhythm Happening, an evening dedicated to unearthing gems from the sonic vaults. A Tin House alumna, her journalism has been published in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Germany's Deutsche Welle. To keep the lights on, she works as a copywriter in Silicon Valley. She pursued her Bachelors in Journalism from Emerson College and received a Master’s in Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh. Her writing has been supported by fellowships from MacDowell, Hedgebrook, and the California Arts Council.

fahima ife (they/she, any or no pronoun) is a poet, professor, and editor based in Northern California and New Orleans. She is associate professor of Black Studies in the department of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at University of California Santa Cruz. In her creative/critical work and in the classes she teaches, fahima considers 20th and 21st century experimental black aesthetics, ecological poetry and poetics, performance art, intimacy, and pleasure. fahima mostly produces poems, lyrical essays, and hybrid experimental works. She is author of Maroon Choreography (Duke University Press, 2021), the forthcoming poetry collection, Arrhythmia (press TBA, 2023), and other works. She is at work on poems, a music of our sensing here. She is a contributing editor at Tilted House press, and with Ian U Lockaby, co-edits the forthcoming journal LUCIUS. 


(CANCELLED) November 17:  Terri Witek in conversation with Rachel Nelson

This is an in person event. 

Terri Witek is the author of 7 books of poems, most recently The Rattle Egg (2021);  Something’s Missing in This Museum is forthcoming in 2023 ).   Recent work has been featured in two international anthologies: JUDITH: Women Making Visual Poetry (2021), and in the WAAVe Global Anthology of Women’s Asemic Writing and Visual Poetry (2021).  She has collaborated with Brazilian artist Cyriaco Lopes ( since 2005--their works together include museum and gallery shows, performance and site-specific projects featured internationally in New York, Seoul, Miami, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, and Valencia. Witek holds the Sullivan Chair in Creative Writing at Stetson University, and with Lopes teaches Poetry in the Expanded Field in Stetson’s low-residency MFA of the Americas.  Their collaborative projects are represented by The Liminal, Valencia Spain.

Rachel Nelson, PhD, is director and chief curator of the Institute of the Arts and Sciences and adjunct professor in the History of Art and Visual Culture at University of California, Santa Cruz. In her curatorial projects and research, Nelson explores the transformative potential of art and culture. She is co-curator of the group exhibition Barring Freedom (2020-21), which looks at how artists engage the racialized histories and presents of the U.S. criminal legal system. Other curatorial projects include Bodies at the Borders with Carlos Motta, Solitary Garden with jackie sumell and Tim Young, and Visualizing Abolition, an ongoing art and education program. Nelson has also has published widely, including in Journal of Curatorial Studies, Brooklyn Rail, NKA, Third Text, Savvy, and African Arts, among others.


December 1:  Student Reading.  This is an in person event.