For the first event of Mic Check Poetry Fest, we invite everyone to join this moderated discussion between two poetry performance artists as they present their work and share insights into the world of slam poetry. With Tracie Morris, Professor at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Steven Willis, recent MFA in Poetry from the Writers’ Workshop, this event offers a unique look into the history and growth of spoken word, as well as its role in the academy.
With: Tracie Morris · Steven Willis · Caleb Rainey Moderating
Date: Friday, November 11
Time: 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Location: In person at Prairie Lights, 15 S Dubuque Street, Iowa City, IA. Virtually via Zoom.
In person, registration not required: This is a free event! Walk-ins welcome.
Born and raised in Chicago, IL, performance poet Steven Willis uses his poetic and theatrical background to embark on the daunting task of creatively articulating African American culture. With art heavily influenced by urban life and religion, Steven mixes elements of theatrical performance with formal teachings of anthropology and political theory to express his eclectic personal narrative. Willis is a contributing writer to the Breakbeat Poets Anthology, NYU’s National Council for Teacher Journal, is a 3 time Individual Work Poetry Slam finalist, and former slam team member of the Nuyorican Poets café. Willis received his MFA in acting from the University of Iowa in 2021 and his MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2022. His first full collection A Peculiar People was released with Button Poetry in 2022.
Tracie Morris (MFA, Poetry, Hunter College, CUNY, PhD, Performance Studies, NYU). Dr. Morris was the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Professor of Poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop before joining the Workshop as its first African-American tenured Professor of Poetry. Tracie has presented innovative poetry, performance art and theory in over 30 countries and is the author/editor of 10 books (three forthcoming, 2022-2023). University creative fellowships include the Woodberry Poetry Room (Creative Fellow, Harvard University), Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (Writing Fellow, University of Pennsylvania). She is a 2021 Guggenheim Poetry Fellow. Tracie is a Cave Canem alumna and designated a Master Artist of the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her installations and performances have been presented by the Whitney Biennial, Dia:Chelsea, The New Museum, The Kitchen Performance Space, Albertine, Furious Flower, Victoria and Albert Museum, Centre Pompidou, among others. Her debut poetic short film, Black Spring, was commissioned by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the Department of Cinematic Arts of the University of Iowa.
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