Pulitzer Prize-winning poet to speak on campus April 18

Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, College of Sciences and Humanities

April 13, 2017

Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess will visit Ball State University April 18 for a free, public reading from his highly touted book of poetry.

The reading by Jess, who was recently honored with the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for “Olio,” begins at 7 p.m. in the Art and Journalism Building, Room 175.

This event is sponsored by the English Department’s Marilyn K. Cory Lecture Series, the Multicultural Center and the Office of Institutional Diversity. Also during his visit, Jess will meet with an African American literature and history course co-taught by Emily Rutter, an English professor, and Simon Balto, a history professor.

Jess’s poems examine the lives of African American performers from the Civil War until World War I, revealing the history of America’s blues, work songs and church hymns.

Jess, a Detroit native, was praised by the Pulitzer committee for a distinctive work that melds performance art with the deeper art of poetry to explore collective memory and challenge contemporary notions of race and identity.

His first book of poetry, "Leadbelly," was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Jess also received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and was a 2004-2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.

He is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team and won a 2000-2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship.

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