The Cameron University Department of English and Foreign Languages kicks off its Visiting Writers Series by welcoming poet Quraysh Ali Lansana on Friday, September 18 at 7 p.m. Lansana will read selections from his work in the CETES Conference Center. The event is open to the public at no charge. The event is made possible through Cameron University Lectures and Concerts Series.
Lansana is the author of “mystic turf,” “They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems,” “Southside Rain,” and a children’s book, “The Big World” as well as four poetry chapbooks. He is the coauthor, with Christopher Stewart, of the 2014 release “The Walmart Republic” and has coedited a number of anthologies, most recently “The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop.”
In his work, Lansana travels back to his origins in the southwestern United States - he is a native of Enid - and takes a look at the politics, contradictions, injustices, and inequalities - in race, ethnicity, and social status - present in what he refers to as “The Walmart Republic.”
In his review of “mystic turf,” author and poet Major Jackson says, “In these poems that lyrically insinuate in brief yet lasting notes, Quraysh Ali Lansana tags the nervous streets, American foothills, domestic rooms, and memories that constitute our bluesy soul, and asks, ‘Why can’t we speak the grace we all avoid?’ We’ve no slipperiness here, just the solid walkings and meditations of a man poised in his life to speak the grace he’s earned and to speak his journey with enormous dignity and artfulness.”
The recipient of the 1999 Henry Blakely Award and the Chicago Black Book Fair’s 2000 Poet of the Year Award, Lansana is the former director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University, where he was also taught English and creative writing. He is currently a faculty member of the creative writing program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Oklahoma City University’s Red Earth MFA creative writing program.
September 10, 2015