Treasure Chest

New and Exciting Developments for Poetry and the Senses

A huge thank you from Engaging the Senses Foundation to Julia Wilson-Bryant, Director since 2017 of the Arts Research Center of Berkeley University, our partner in the multi-year Poetry and the Senses initiative. As Julia prepares to depart for Columbia University, she has announced that ARC’s next faculty Director will be Prof. Beth Piatote, who teaches Native studies and comparative literature and is also a published poet. Julia writes that “Beth will bring her brilliance, her creativity, and her political commitments to ARC as she will continue to showcase how the arts act as vital research.  In 2022-2023, she will oversee an expansion of our multi-year initiative Poetry and the Senses, in which fellows will collaborate with the University of Hawaii, the Arizona State University Center for Borderlands, and the Nez Perce writer’s group luk’upsíimey. I am certain Beth will be a transformative and inspiring leader!”

Please go here for updates and highlights from the spring 2022 and earlier seasons of Poetry and the Senses. Our profound gratitude to the brilliant staff of ARC, who have ensured that the initiative has truly explored and will continue to investigate and reveal “the deep connections between poetry, in its broadest sense, and the full spectrum of human experience in body and mind.”

 

 
 
New and Exciting Developments for Poetry and the Senses
New and Exciting Developments for Poetry and the Senses

ARC 2021-22 Poetry Fellows Reading

The next exciting spring semester event from Engaging the Senses Foundation’s ongoing Poetry and the Senses partnership with U.C. Berkeley’s Arts and Research Center (ARC) is a celebration of the 2021/22 ARCPoetry Fellows with an in-person reading of work created during their fellowship semester! This event will feature undergrad fellows Anastasia Le and Gisselle Medina; graduate fellows Lindsay Choi and Vincente Perez; faculty fellows Ahmad Diab and Jesse Nathan; and community fellows Maurya Kerr and D’mani Thomas, and be followed by a short conversation and Q&A with ARC Director Julia Bryan-Wilson. The Poetry and the Senses Fellows have delved deep into their investigation of the theme of coexistence, which “has a spatial component, and implies the sharing of space or cohabitation within overlapping territories; it also has a temporal dimension, suggesting simultaneous presence with others in the same moment in time.”

The event will take place in person on Thursday, May 5th, 2022 from 5:30 – 7pm PST in the Maude Fife Room 315 Wheeler Hall.

Learn more about this semester’s fellows here. And don’t forget that you can still watch the series of Flash Readings by ARC’s/Poetry and the Senses growing online archive of Bay Area poets. During the month of April, each of the invited poets read one of their poems related to the theme coexistence. You will also find here the archive of poets who participated in 2021’s Flash readings related to the theme “emerge/ncy”. Truly a treasure trove of powerful voices!

DETROIT ROOTS: A READING FEATURING TARFIA FAIZULLAH, VIEVEE FRANCIS, AND MATTHEW OLZMANNIN

The spring semester of Engaging the Senses Foundation’s ongoing Poetry and the Senses partnership with U.C. Berkeley’s Arts and Research Center (ARC) is in full swing as the spring 2022 semester’s Poetry and the Senses Fellows continue their investigation of the theme of coexistence, which “has a spatial component, and implies the sharing of space or cohabitation within overlapping territories; it also has a temporal dimension, suggesting simultaneous presence with others in the same moment in time.”

On Thursday, April 28, 2022, from 5:30 – 7pm PST Poetry and the Senses will present another fine event in Detroit Roots: A reading featuring Tarfia Faizullah, Vievee Francis, and Matthew Olzmannin in conversation with ARC’s Chiyuma Elliott & Poetry and the Senses Fellow Jesse Nathan

This online event will be in-person, recorded and posted on ARC’s YouTube Channel post-event.

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of two poetry collections, REGISTERS OF ILLUMINATED VILLAGES (Graywolf, 2018) and SEAM (SIU, 2014). Tarfia’s writing appears widely in the U.S. and abroad.

Vievee Francis is the author of The Shared World, which is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press; Forest Primeval (TriQuarterly Books, 2015), winner of the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award; Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012), winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize; and Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006).

Matthew Olzmann is the author of Constellation Route (forthcoming in January 2022 from Alice James Books) as well as two previous collections of poetry: Mezzanines (selected for the 2011 Kundiman Prize) and Contradictions in the Design.

Poetry and the Senses Flash Reading Series for Poetry Month

The spring semester of Engaging the Senses Foundations ongoing Poetry and the Senses partnership with U.C. Berkeleys Arts and Research Center (ARC) is in full swing! 2022’s poetry ventures, just like those during the 2020 and 2021 seasons of the project, have focused brilliantly — in the words of Julia Bryan-Wilson, ARCs Director – on poetry as a vital resource during a time unduly challenged by crisis, including a world-wide pandemic, massive wildfires, and intense political unrest.

Continued gratitude goes out to Julia, to fall 2021 semester Acting Director of Arts Research Center and ongoing Board Member Chiyuma Elliott, and to Associate Director of ARC Laurie Macfee, who facilitates the Poetry and the Senses initiative. Gratitude as well to the spring 2022 semester’s Poetry and the Senses Fellows, who began their tenure in the fall of 2021 and continue their investigation of the theme of coexistence, which has a spatial component, and implies the sharing of space or cohabitation within overlapping territories; it also has a temporal dimension, suggesting simultaneous presence with others in the same moment in time.”

In addition to ARCs larger monthly readings, the primary Poetry and the Senses project for April, which has been designated National Poetry Month in the U.S., is a daily series of Flash readings from a multiplicity of exciting poets

ARC piloted the Flash Reading Series in 2021 featuring two dozen Bay Area poets reading one of their poems in relation to the 2020-2021’s Poetry and the Senses theme of emerge/ncy”. Over time, the series has turned into a growing online archive of Bay Area poets. During fall 2021/spring 2022, the project has been able to add 30 more writers reading one of their poems related to the current theme of coexistence.”

Poetry and the Senses Featured poets for April 2022 National Poetry Month include:

Dodie Bellamy, Maxe Crandell, Eric Falci, Ra Malika Imhotep, Mason J, Fiza Jihan, Nathalie Khankan, Ava Koohbor, Angie Sijun Lou, Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta, tanea lunsford lynx, Zouhair Mussa, Shivani Narang, Lucie Pereira, Katie Peterson, Janice Lobo Sapigao, Darius Simpson, Maya Sisneros, Aimee Suzara, Lehua M. Taitano, & Nellie Wong

They join 32 other amazing readings by Bay Area poets:

Kim Addonizio, Katherine Agyemaa Agard, Bahaar Ahsan, Ari Banias, William Brewer, MK Chavez, Jennifer Cheng, Lindsay Choi, Sophia Dahlin, Jennifer Foerster, C.S. Giscombe, Caroline Goodwin, Amanda Gunn, Brenda Hillman, Jane Hirshfield, Leena Joshi, Dana Koster, Raina Leon, Randall Mann, Thea Matthews, Florencia Milito, Geoffrey G. OBrien, Brittany Perham, D.A. Powell, Barbara Reyes, Rachel Richardson, Atsuro Riley, sam sax, Kim Shuck, Kevin Simmonds, Juliana Spahr, & Dmani Thomas.

The short recorded readings are carried here, where you can also find and listen to the 2021 Flash series, as well as sign up for ARC’s newsletter so you can be sent the spring 2022 readings every Friday in April.

Please enjoy this treasure trove of new and established poets whose voices add so much to our public and private discourse!

Poetry and the Senses Event: Celebrating Kundiman

The spring semester of Engaging the Senses Foundations ongoing Poetry and the Senses partnership with U.C. Berkeleys Arts and Research Center (ARC) is underway! Looking back at the project throughout 2020 and 2021, we can reflect on an ongoing initiative that has focused brilliantly — in the words of Julia Bryan-Wilson, ARCs Director – on poetry as a vital resource during a time unduly challenged by crisis, including a world-wide pandemic, massive wildfires, and intense political unrest.  We are grateful for the brilliant stewardship of Julia Bryan-Wilson, Doris and Clarence Malo Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art; fall 2021 semester Acting Director of Arts Research Center and ongoing Board Member Chiyuma Elliott, an Associate Professor of African American Studies at UC Berkeley; and Associate Director of ARC Laurie Macfee, a poet, artist, art administrator, and educator who facilitates the Poetry and the Senses initiative.

We are delighted to hear that, given how deeply they are engaging with each other, ARC has extended the fall 2021 Poetry and the Senses fellows cohort through the spring 2022 semester. Their ongoing theme is coexistence, which “has a spatial component, and implies the sharing of space or cohabitation within overlapping territories; it also has a temporal dimension, suggesting simultaneous presence with others in the same moment in time.” You can find the 2021/2022 fellows’ reflections on the theme of coexistence on ARCs blog here.

There will be a new cohort of fellows in fall 2022. Applications will be available in early April.

We’d like to remind you of several inspired offerings upcoming in the spring of 2022. The first is Celebrating Kundiman: Cathy Linh Che, Chen Chen, & Jenny Xie online in conversation with 2021/22 ARC Poetry Fellow Lindsay Choi and poet and ARC program coordinator Sophia Hussain. Poetry and the Senses will welcome poet and Kundiman Executive Director Cathy Linh Che (author of Split) to the ARC virtual stage, along with two poets whove benefited from the teaching and mentorship in the remarkable Kundiman Asian American writing collective: Chen Chen (author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities) and Jenny Xie (author of Eye Level). The reading will be livestreamed and live captioned, and is free and open to the public on Thursday, March 10th 2022 | 5:00 – 6:30pm PST.

Also, in a live presentation in Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall Tuesday, March 15th 2022, from 4:00 – 5:30pm PST, a lecture by ARC Artist-in-Residence Dario Robleto — who has worked in collaboration with everyone from SETI scientists to cardiologists, and who describes himself as a materialist poet,” — will bring a visual artists perspective to the Poetry and the Senses project, followed by a conversation with Julia Bryan-Wilson. The lecture will be recorded and posted online after the event.

A reminder as well to access the rich trove of inspiration available at Calling the Elders: Writing Prompts, which offers opportunities for writers and activists to use creative writing to build community, articulate needs, and collaboratively build an inclusive and ambitious vision of support. The writing workshops, from spring of 2021 centered around poems and prompts offered by queer and trans poets or inspired by work they have put out into the world, and, now available online, are a consistent source of possibility for writers and change-makers seeking new ways to move forward in their work.

We can also look forward to the 2022 Flash Reading Series, in which 20 Bay Area Poets will read a poem related to the theme of coexistence, released weekly during National Poetry Month, April 2022, online. Poets will include Maxe Crandell, Eric Falci, Ra Malika Imhotep, Mason J, Nathalie Khankan, Ava Koohbor, Tatiana Luboviski-Acostatanea, tanea lunsford lynx, Zouhair Mussa, Shivani Narang, Lucie Pereira, Katie Peterson, Janice Lobo Sapigao, Angie Sijun Lou, Darius Simpson, Maya Sisneros, Monica Sok, Aimee Suzara, Lehua M. Taitano, & Nellie Wong. We’ll be reminding you closer to the date.

Please join us for these and future offerings from the innovative Poetry and the Senses initiative!

Lost & Found Archival Research Grants Deadline!

It’s a pleasure to share the newest venture from one of our wonderful partners in the realms of poetics and mindfulness, the City University of New York’s Center for the Humanities Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative. Lost & Found publishes original texts by figures central to and associated with New American Poetry, in an effort to excavate lost documents and to illuminate understudied aspects of literary, cultural, and political history.

While focusing on poetry and poetics, Lost & Found continues to expand their range of focus as well into other art forms including music, performing arts, and the visual arts, particularly in the context of specific historical moments of great synergy.

Engaging the Senses Foundation is honored to have the opportunity in 2022 to partner with the Early Research Initiative at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and The Office of the Provost at The Graduate Center, to enable Lost & Found to once again offer Lost & Found Archival Research Grants (LFARG) for CUNY graduate students in all disciplines who are currently developing or seeking to develop archival research in or around 20th century poetry, poetics or other art forms as outlined above. The grants will range from $1,000 to $3,000.

With a focus on writers, artists, and musicians whose contributions to New American Poetry remain understudied, grant recipients will be able to undertake further archival research, writing, and editing en route to a publication project for Lost & Found, a blog post about the research process on Distributaries, or some other format. The Lost & Found Archival Research Grant application due date is February 18, 2022, by 11:59 PM.

We are looking forward to the unexpected delights and riches that the grant recipients will offer in time, and remain in awe of the groundbreaking work done by  Lost & Found, to be found and cherished in their trove of extraordinary publications/archives.

 

 

Goodbye to 2021 and Onward to A New Time Full of Inspiration, Action, and Hope

 

 

 

 

But no matter how good the dance, no matter how beautiful we may feel in the moment…

understand that nothing was meant to last, and whether moments together

end in a dramatic flash of brilliance or an uneventful fizzle…

it will happen

and we will move on

we always do,

we always have.

But understand that you are never alone

even though you might be flying solo in the disco,

know that you can always close your eyes and feel the beat, feel your feet moving

in rhythm with everyone else.

There is a home for you, a place where you belong

—Kealoha, The Story of Everything

As we come to the end of a year that’s been uniquely difficult for many of us, Engaging the Senses Foundation would like to extend our very best thoughts and wishes to all of you, along with our deepest gratitude to the partners, collaborators, artists, poets, and visionaries we have had the opportunity to work with in 2021. We honor them for their generosity and brilliance. Our gratitude goes out as well to the receptive, open-hearted audiences and readers who have welcomed work of this caliber and who equally understand our collective need to not only survive, but thrive through these immensely challenging times by continuing to create beauty, offer solutions, and help one another along the path. Our hope has been strengthened by all of you.

Among the work and artists we’ve been privileged to engage with, we are thrilled to announce the completion of The Story of Everything, a multimedia film that illuminates the intersection between science, the environment, the arts, and mindfulness through the storytelling of Hawai’i first Poet Laureate, Kealoha. The Story of Everything explores humanity’s rich and diverse explanations for the origins of life, and presents powerful solutions for the continued health of the planet at a time when we’re confronting the most severe crisis the earth has ever faced.  A riveting performance that presses back against climate despair, The Story of Everything incorporates poetry, dance, music, art and special effects to condense 13.7 billion years into an hour and 45 minutes that asks and answers the question challenging humans from the very beginning:

Where do we come from?” And even more important: Where can we go next? We will be premiering The Story of Everything at the Maui film festival in July 2022 before it moves to distribution. For now, please watch the trailer .

Another flourishing project that deserves mention is our multi-year Poetry and the Senses collaboration with U.C. Berkeley’s Arts and Research Center (ARC) has thrived under the skillful direction of Acting Director of Arts Research Center Chiyuma Elliott, an Associate Professor of African American Studies at UC Berkeley and member of the ARC Poetry and the Senses Advisory Board; and Associate Director of ARC Laurie Macfee, a poet, artist, art administrator, and educator who facilitates the Poetry and the Senses initiative. For Fall 2021 the current Poetry and the Senses fellows cohort focused on the theme of coexistence, with implications of both sharing space/cohabitation within overlapping territories, and simultaneous presence with others in time. The richness of their offerings can be found on the Events page and include a series of vital Flash Readings, an evening called Celebrating Cave Canem with poets Cornelius Eady, Morgan Parker & Cameron Awkward-Rich, a conversation between Camille T. Dungy & Ross Gay and the Poetry & the Senses Fall 2021 Fellows Reading, all of which will remain online for your enjoyment.

Another venture we were pleased to play a small part in was the California Arts Council’s DREAM, an annual publication devoted to news of the thriving arts and cultural landscape of California. The first issue is a cornucopia of articles about creative artists and events in the world’s fifth leading economy, a sampling of the rich diversity amongst creatives in the state. Articles include an in-depth look at a partnership supporting traditional agricultural knowledge and art between the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation and the Mariposa County Arts Council, which addresses wildfire concerns; a moving story about a Mexican-American artist became involved with the artists against the seeming barriers of autism and poverty; a love letter to the power and opulence of Black creatives; and many others.

It’s also an honor to highlight our ongoing partnership with Skirball Cultural Center a place of meeting that welcomes people of all communities and generations to participate in cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and hope, foster human connections, and call upon us to help build a more just society. Our most recent opportunity to offer support was for the dynamic and inspiring online conversation between Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in US history and former first Youth Poet Laureate of the U.S., and  Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, who read her own original poem, Praise Song for the Day” for the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. ETSF has also helped to support offerings such as the Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ai Weiwei: Trace exhibitions, Jewish meditation sessions, and readings by poetry luminaries such as U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.

Also, a warm mention and congratulations to our partner, Hawai’i Contemporary who moves from strength to strength, and whose Hawai’i Triennial is upcoming in February 2022. Hawai‘i Triennial 2022 (HT22) will be framed around the fluid concept of Pacific Century – E Ho‘omau no Moananuiākea, interweaving themes of history, place, and identity within the context of Hawaiʻi’s unique location at the confluence of Asia-Pacific and Oceania. HT22’s 43 artists and collectives will feature over 60 participants including internationally renowned cultural figures exhibiting alongside multiple generations of Hawai‘i-based artists, as well as others making their U.S. institutional debut. We encourage all who can to purchase tickets to attend the Triennial from February 18–May 8, 2022  We have had a long and fruitful partnership with Hawai’i Contemporary — Engaging the Senses Foundation’s CEO Mona Abadir was first president emeritus of Hawai’i Biennial in 2019 — and are looking forward to the panels and presentation we will be collaborating on for the Triennial. More information to come in the new year!

These are just a sampling of the kinds of projects that help us to embody Engaging the Senses Foundation’s core belief that by supporting artists in their boldest and most courageous visions, we are assisting humanity to thrive. Through the creation of programs and events that illuminate the intersection of art and compassion, we honor the indivisibility of the human spirit and nature, and attend to the nurturing of both. We hope you have a joyful and compassionate end to 2021, and that you’ll join us for the many exciting undertakings we have planned for 2022 and beyond.

On behalf of all of us at Engaging the Senses Foundation, we wish you happy holidays and a wonderful new year!

Amanda Gorman—Call Us What We Carry

Excerpts from the December 2021 conversation are now available here!

 

 

 

 

Engaging the Senses Foundation is honored to contribute our support to an upcoming conversation between two remarkable poets, thought leaders, and presidential inaugural readers on Thursday, December 9, 6:00 pm (PT). Amanda Gorman—Call Us What We Carry, is presented by Skirball Cultural Center, one of the leading cultural venues in Los Angeles, offering cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and call upon us to help build a more just society, in partnership with Writers Bloc Presents®, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the significance of literature and the written word as an art form, and enriching the general public’s awareness of the contemporary writers and thinkers who have made a significant impact on the cultural and literary landscape.

The online discussion between  Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in US history and former first Youth Poet Laureate of the U.S., and  Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which is the nation’s largest funder in arts, culture, and humanities in higher education, who read her own original poem, “Praise Song for the Day” for the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama, is sure to make for an inspiring and thought-provoking evening.

Amanda Gorman is one of our most valued and visible young poets during an era that has seen inordinate challenges along with a new awareness of the power of the arts to frame and shape public consciousness. Ms. Gorman has become well known for both her poetry and her passionate advocacy for the environment and social justice issues. Appointed the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017 by Urban Word—a program that supports Youth Poets Laureate in more than sixty cities, regions, and states nationally — her performance of her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration received international attention. A special edition of “The Hill We Climb,” published in 2021 debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestsellers lists. Amanda Gorman appeared on the cover of TIME magazine in February 2021 and was the first poet to grace the cover of Vogue. Her debut picture book, Change Sings, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in September 2021.

Amanda Gorman’s conversation with Dr. Alexander will focus on her upcoming poetry collection, Call Us What We Carry, which will be released in December 2021. “In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. This luminous poetry collection explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, and a major voice for the future.”

 

Poetry and the Senses Fall 2022

Engaging the Senses Foundation would like to congratulate our ongoing partner the University of California at Berkeley for the much-deserved honor it has recently been accorded, as  No. 1 in Forbes’ national ranking of America’s Best Colleges. This is the first time the top spot has ever been awarded to a public university. Amongst other accolades, UC Berkeley is noted in its top designation for the fact that 27% of undergraduates receive federal Pell Grants aimed at helping low- and moderate-income students pay for college, resulting in a varied and uniquely inclusive student body.

Meanwhile, we’re delighted to announce that the fall 2021 semester of Engaging the Senses Foundation’s multi-year Poetry and the Senses partnership with U.C. Berkeley’s Arts and Research Center (ARC) is now under way! Under the skillful direction of Acting Director of Arts Research Center Chiyuma Elliott, an Associate Professor of African American Studies at UC Berkeley who is a member of the ARC Poetry and the Senses Advisory Board; and Associate Director of ARC Laurie Macfee, a poet, artist, art administrator, and educator who facilitates the Poetry and the Senses initiative, the initiative is moving into a new theme and focus.” For Fall 2021 the Poetry and the Senses fellows will pivot from the initiative’s earlier theme of emerg/ency to its new theme of coexistence, with implications of both sharing space/cohabitation within overlapping territories, and simultaneous presence with others in time.

We look forward to the next few months of online readings and conversations with the fall 2021 Interns, as well as guest poets and artists. We’re once again anticipating a rich and varied Flash Reading Series, which will take place from late September – November 2021, with bi-weekly releases of featured poets including Katherine Agard, Caroline Goodwin, Amanda Gunn, Dana Koster, and many others. During these sessions, each poet will give a 3-5 minute reading of one of their poems related in some way to the theme of coexistence, highlighting work that “engages capaciously with issues of mutuality, synchronicity, interdependence, and care – from enlivening exchanges between beings, to the porous line between animate and inanimate, to the challenges of living together on our planet, to the uncanny shivers of coincidence.” These short readings will be carried on both the Poetry and the Senses website and a YouTube channel. We’ll share specific dates as soon as they’re confirmed.

You’ll also want to mark your calendars for October 20th, at 5pm pacific, when Poetry and the Senses will welcome poet and Cave Canem co-founder Cornelius Eady (author of Hardheaded Weather) to the ARC virtual stage, along with two emerging poets who’ve benefitted from his teaching and mentorship in the Cave Canem Black artists collective: Morgan Parker (author of Magical Negro) and Cameron Awkward Rich (author of Dispatch). Cave Canem’s programs and publications enlarge the American literary canon; democratize archives; and expand for students, aspiring poets and readers the notion of what’s possible and valuable in a poem. In Cave Canem, poets of color find productive space for writing without fear of censure or the need to defend subject matter or language. Following their readings, these poets will be in conversation with ARC’s Acting Director Chiyuma Elliott and fall 2021 Poetry & the Senses fellow Vincente Perez, a Black Mexican-American performance poet, scholar, and writer working at the intersections of Poetry, Hip-Hop, and Digital Black cultural praxis with an interest in the way that artists use narrative to resist dominant stories that attempt to erase, subjugate, or enact violence on marginalized communities.

These are only two of the upcoming treasures to be offered by UC Berkeley and The Poetry and the Senses project this semester. Please stay tuned for more dates and events to come!

 

Poetry and the Senses Fall 2021 Fellows

After a summer break, we’re excited to look ahead to the fall semester of Engaging the Senses Foundation’s ongoing Poetry and the Senses partnership with U.C. Berkeley’s Arts and Research Center (ARC). Looking back at the project throughout 2020 and 2021, we can reflect on an ongoing initiative that has focused brilliantly — in the words of Julia Bryan-Wilson, ARC’s Director – on poetry as a vital resource during a time unduly challenged by crisis, including a world-wide pandemic, massive wildfires, and intense political unrest.  We are deeply grateful to Julia Bryan-Wilson, Doris and Clarence Malo Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, who has overseen Poetry and the Senses since 2019 and is on leave for the fall 2021 semester; Acting Director of  Arts Research Center Chiyuma Elliott, an Associate Professor of African American Studies at UC Berkeley who is a member of the ARC Poetry and the Senses Advisory Board; and Associate Director of ARC Laurie Macfee, a poet, artist, art administrator, and educator who facilitates the Poetry and the Senses initiative. Our most profound gratitude goes to U.C. Berkeley Dean of Arts and Humanities Anthony J. Cascardi, founder and former director of the Arts Research Center at Berkeley and professor of comparative literature, rhetoric, and Spanish, whose support and vision made the Poetry and the Senses initiative possible.

During these crucially challenging months, Poetry and the Senses has been a powerful forum for collectively exploring and deepening our core belief in the idea that art can heal by giving voice to important reckonings and by bringing hearts and minds together to contemplate reality and envision change. Fall 2021’s cohort are certain to further these goals. The Poetry and the Senses fellows for Fall 2021 will now pivot from earlier semesters’ theme of emerg/ency to the theme of “coexistence,” with its implications of both sharing space/cohabitation within overlapping territories, and simultaneous presence with others in time.  We’re delighted to anticipate upcoming creative investigations from Undergraduate Fellows Anastasia Le, a poet, printmaker, and student co-operative member in her final year of a BA in comparative politics at UC Berkeley and Gisselle Medina, a poet, visual artist and journalist in their final year as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley. Graduate Student Fellows Lindsay Choi, a poet and translator working between English, Korean, and Swedish, and Vincente Perez, a Black Mexican-American performance poet, scholar, and writer working at the intersections of Poetry, Hip-Hop, and Digital Black cultural praxis will be rounding out the student intern group.  Also joining the Fall 2021 initiative are Faculty Fellows Ahmad Diab,  a Palestinian writer and academic who is an assistant professor of modern Arabic literature and cinema (20th and 21st centuries) at UC Berkeley, and Jesse Nathan, a lecturer in the English Department at UC Berkeley, whose poems appear in the Paris Review, Kenyon Review, The Nation, FENCE, The Yale Review, Harvard Review, and American Poetry Review. Community Fellows Maurya Kerr, a bay area-based writer, educator, and artist, whose artistic work is focused on Black and brown people reclaiming their birthright to wonderment, and D’mani Thomas, a Black visual theorist, horror enthusiast, and writer from Oakland, California who has received fellowships from The Watering Hole, Foglifter literary journal, and Bakanal de Afrique via Afro Urban Society will add their voices and visions to the upcoming semester of study, creative work, and performance.

We look forward to the next few months of online readings and conversations with the Fall 2021 Interns, as well as guest poets and artists (soon to be announced). And if you haven’t caught up to the richness of the 2020 and Spring 2021 Poetry and the Senses offerings, you can link to them here. We’ll update you regularly with new events as they are created, and are confident that you’ll find the upcoming semester of Poetry and the Senses as enriching the ones that came before. Please join us!