Frick Fine Arts Auditorium
March 21
7 p.m.

Three generations of award-winning Black authors from the Pitt Poetry Series are coming together for a landmark event on Monday, March 21st.

Toi Derricotte
Toi Derricotte

Teaming up to present the free public program, “Poetry and Race in America: How the Humanities Engage with Social Problems,” are the University of Pittsburgh Press and the newly created Center for African American Poetry and Poetics.

The public is invited to explore the complex issue of race in America through the insights, voices and writings of six acclaimed African American poets. The night’s all-star lineup of award-winning writers reflects the prominence, quality and diversity of African American poets in contemporary writing. Featured poets include Toi Derricotte, Ross Gay, Rickey Laurentiis, Nate Marshall and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon.

In addition to poetry readings, the program will also feature an engaging discussion moderated by National Book Award and MacArthur fellowship winner Terrance Hayes, who co-founded the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics with poet, activist and educator Dawn Lundy Martin.

Afaa Michael Weaver.
Afaa Michael Weaver

With recent tragic events taking place across the country in cities such as Ferguson, NYC, Baltimore and Chicago, the night’s frank dialogue about race, social issues and police violence against African American communities is highly pressing and relevant. Via poetry and conversation, the unique program will showcase the artistic engagement African-American writers whose work directly addreses the deep-rooted American problem of race—through their art, experiences and ideas.

Held in conjunction with Pitt’s “Year of the Humanities” programming, Monday’s event will also highlight how art, music and creative writing can engage with social issues and impact contemporary society.

Free and open to the public, the event starts at 7 p.m. at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium on the Pitt campus in Oakland.

The poets will also lead an interactive workshop, also open to the public, on Sunday, March 20th at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater’s Alloy Studios at 5 p.m.

Looking for more events? Read our 12 Pittsburgh events not to miss in March feature.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.