Cameron University to welcome award-winning poet Quraysh Ali Lansana

The Cameron University Department of Communication is pleased to present acclaimed poet Quraysh Ali Lansana for events on Thursday, September 14, and Friday, September 15. Lansana’s presentations are in conjunction with “American Identities in the 21st Century,” Cameron’s current academic festival. Both events are open to the public at no charge.

Quraysh Ali LansanaOn Thursday, September 14, Lansana will celebrate the centennial anniversary of his mentor and cultural grandmother, Gwendolyn Brooks, with a lecture rooted in his experiences as one of her students. Brooks, widely considered to be one of the 20th century’s pre-eminent poets and voices of social justice, was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize and served as the 29th Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and a Poet Laureate of Illinois.  Lansana is the editor of “The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent,” an essay collection that celebrates and explores Brooks’ impact and influence as a conscious chronicler of American society and the Black American experience. The presentation will take place in the CETES Conference Center from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

On Friday, September 15, Lansana will headline a poetry reading from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the McCasland Ballroom, located in the McMahon Centennial Complex. Lansana will read creative work from his previously published poetry collections and new work from forthcoming collections. Oklahoma poets David Bublitz and Jill Hawkins, who were published in Lansana’s 2017 anthology “Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks,” will also be featured.

A native of Enid, 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.

The recipient of the 1999 Henry Blakely Award and the Chicago Black Book Fair’s 2000 Poet of the Year Award, Lansana served as director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University for more than a decade. He is currently a faculty member of the creative writing program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Lansana’s presentations are made possible by funding from the McCasland/Amquest Bank Endowed Chair, established by the McCasland Foundation in 1989 to support the university’s academic festivals. Additional funding is provided by the Cameron University Foundation and through Cameron University Lectures and Concerts Series.

For more information, contact David Bublitz, Assistant Professor of Communication, (580) 581-2997 or



August 28, 2017