Author and poet Aracelis Girmay will be the featured speaker at Park University's Ethnic Voices Poetry Series on Friday, April 6, at the American Jazz Museum, 1616 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo. The presentation, including a reading and jazz band performance, will begin at 7:30 p.m. A reception will precede the event at 7 p.m.
Girmay received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award for her second collection, Kingdom Animalia. She is the author of Teeth, a collection of poems that won the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award and was nominated for a Connecticut Book Award. Girmay's poems also have been published in Ploughshares, Bellevue Literary Review, Indiana Review, Callaloo and MiPOesias. Girmay, who is a professor of poetry writing at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and leads community writing workshops around New York, has been a featured reader at the Udi Aloni Project Room, Studio Museum and Bowery Poetry Club in New York, and prisons in New Jersey and New York. A recipient of fellowships from the Watson and Jerome Foundations, Girmay is a Cave Canem Fellow and writes poetry, essays and fiction.
"It’s our first time to be able to take advantage of the American Jazz Museum, thanks to the support of the Museum's poet-in-residence, Glenn North,” said Virginia Brackett, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of Park's Department of English and Modern Languages and director of the Degree with Honors Program. "The music will help set the tone for what promises to be a wonderful evening."
The purpose of Park University's Ethnic Voices Poetry Series, which started in 2007, is to expose individuals to artistic thought and expression that challenges preconceptions about those whose experiences and points of view differ from their own. Because all literature focuses on the human condition, a sharing of that literature promotes a sharing of ideas regarding the challenges, disappointments and celebrations of all people, and the written and verbal expression of emotions that those activities promote. The Ethnic Voices Poetry Series is funded in part by a Missouri Arts Council grant, a state agency and division of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
For more information about the Ethnic Voices Poetry Series, visit www.park.edu/ethnicpoetry/2011-2012.html or contact Brackett at email@example.com or (816) 584-6818.