Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Poetic Tradition

The Center for African American Poetry & Poetics aims to advance and support African-American writers and thinkers in a university setting.




photo courtesy university of pittsburgh, aimee obidzinski

 

As the birthplace of August Wilson, Gertrude Stein, Andy Warhol and many other artists, Pittsburgh long has been a breeding ground for creative thinkers.

Now, decades after those forebears left their legacy, a new generation of artists and academics continues to strengthen the city’s literary and artistic traditions at the new Center for African American Poetry & Poetics, which has been hosting lectures, workshops and other events since its opening this spring.

​CAAPP was formed after Don Bialostosky, the English Department Chair at the University of Pittsburgh, called a meeting in spring 2015 with poets and professors Dawn Lundy Martin, Terrance Hayes and Yona Harvey. Their goal: to develop a way to highlight the graduate faculty specializing in African-American poetry at the University.

“All three are not just makers of poetry but people who are thinking about poetic practice, poetic theory, the place of poetry in the world right now and poetics as they understand it,” says Bialostosky.

After some brainstorming, Lundy Martin suggested the idea of a center that would bring together poets and academics with a focus on African-American poetry. For the past year, Lundy Martin and Hayes, the co-directors of the center, have been planning ideas for programs and workshops.

Its official mission statement describes the center as a “creative think tank” for African-American and African diasporic works. Organizers say it will be the first of its kind in the nation, providing a space for local and national African-American poets and artists to collaborate and discuss. 

It’s also a step toward cementing the university’s role as the top choice for students seeking a master of fine arts degree who are looking to write in and study the African-American poetic tradition, says Lundy Martin.

During one of the center’s first events in March, a panel discussion entitled “Poetry and Race in America,” three generations of African-American poets gathered to discuss the relationship between race and poetry in America. An eager audience filled the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium for that event, at which the Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Maxwell King announced the inauguration of The Ed Ochester Lectureship on African American Poetry and Poetics. The lecture series through the center honors the long-time editor of the Pitt Poetry Series at the University of Pittsburgh Press. Along with this lectureship, the center will sponsor residencies and short- and long-term fellowships for artists and scholars of African-American poetry and poetics.

The center’s hub is located on the fourth floor of the Cathedral of Learning. It houses administrative offices along with the center’s Dream Space, where visiting guests can meet and work with other artists.

More than just a place for collaboration between writers, the center will enable programming that considers the interests of students and the general Pittsburgh community. One of the organizers’ five-year goals is to have a separate space that is accessible to people outside the university, as well as a separate creative-writing center, says Lundy Martin.

Organizers particularly are eager to involve visiting writers with the community and in community spaces, such as the August Wilson Center for African American Culture Downtown, the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty and City of Asylum in the North Side. The center also hosted workshops and speaking events throughout the summer.

Another goal of the center is to curate a comprehensive archive of African-American poetry and other related resources involving the special-collections department at the university, as well as multimedia content, says Lundy Martin.

“We want a place to look at and archive all the work that African-American poets are doing while considering what it means to have this work in the world,” she says.  

Center for African American Poetry & Poetics
464 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland; caapp.pitt.edu
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

You Try It, Being a Meteorologist In Pittsburgh Isn't Easy

Aside from a Steelers loss, nothing seems to fire up Pittsburghers more than a blown weather forecast.

Our 50 Years: Why I Hate Nostalgia

Enjoying memories is fun – but a far cry from pining for the past.

Perspectives: Finding Grace in #MomLife

A Pittsburgh television reporter learns to embrace the imperfection that comes with being a working mom.

The 400-Word Review: Pledge

IFC Midnight's collegiate terror tale is mostly for genre fans, but it lands a few decent punches.

Capel’s Basketball Resurrection Has the Zoo Rocking Again

Head coach Jeff Capel is restoring respectability and re-establishing the relationship between Pitt’s students and Pitt’s student athletes.

Why Did No One Tell Me Cirque du Soleil is Awesome

A skeptical novice takes in the troupe's "Corteo" production and is stunned at his own delight.

Three Rivers Champion: Julius Boatwright

Boatwright works to connect everyone who needs it with mental health support.

Turkey Devonshire: Reviving a Classic Pittsburgh Sandwich

The once-famous sandwich originated here but now is largely forgotten. We dive into its history and argue that it's time for a revival.

Navigating the Future of Public Transit in Pittsburgh

Six Pittsburghers share their struggles and hopes for the region’s public transit system.

Why Jamison Farm Is a “A Napa Valley for Sheep”

How a former coal miner and his wife use the resources atop rolling Westmoreland County hills to produce the best lamb in the United States.

Pittsburgh Restaurant Review: Fish nor Fowl

The sixth standalone concept from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group, is DeShantz’s most exciting restaurant yet.

Our 50 Years: When We Tried to Predict the Future

25 years ago, we predicted what the Pittsburgh of 2019 would look like. We were ... close?

Help Pay Tribute to a Pittsburgh Jazz Legend

Mary Lou Williams began as a teenage piano prodigy in the Hill District and made it to Carnegie Hall and beyond. This month, you can discover her musical legacy.

Their's was a Starry-Eyed Pittsburgh Romance

John Brashear dedicated his life to science — and his wife, Phoebe.

She Became Pittsburgh Radio Royalty by Making Music Matter

Rosemary Welsch, longtime DJ and senior producer at WQEP-FM, has shepherded the station from startup to institution.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


You Try It, Being a Meteorologist In Pittsburgh Isn't Easy

You Try It, Being a Meteorologist In Pittsburgh Isn't Easy

Aside from a Steelers loss, nothing seems to fire up Pittsburghers more than a blown weather forecast.

Comments

Our 50 Years: Why I Hate Nostalgia

Our 50 Years: Why I Hate Nostalgia

Enjoying memories is fun – but a far cry from pining for the past.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Fresh Fest Beerfest Is Set to Return to Pittsburgh

Fresh Fest Beerfest Is Set to Return to Pittsburgh

The country's first black brewfest looks to double in size this year.

Comments

Pittsburgh Chef Moves: Csilla Thackray Headed to Legume Bistro

Pittsburgh Chef Moves: Csilla Thackray Headed to Legume Bistro

Thackray's departure from The Vandal will result in a new menu at that Lawrenceville restaurant.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments

Love Sourdough? Find the Best There Is at These Five Bake Shops

Love Sourdough? Find the Best There Is at These Five Bake Shops

We dove into the local artisan bread scene to find the best places that bake naturally leavened bread in Pittsburgh.

Comments


Why Did No One Tell Me Cirque du Soleil is Awesome

Why Did No One Tell Me Cirque du Soleil is Awesome

A skeptical novice takes in the troupe's "Corteo" production and is stunned at his own delight.

Comments

My New Neighborhood Bar is The Birmingham Bridge Tavern

My New Neighborhood Bar is The Birmingham Bridge Tavern

After settling into a new neighborhood, PM nightlife editor Sean Collier sings the praises of his go-to corner bar.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Capel’s Basketball Resurrection Has the Zoo Rocking Again

Capel’s Basketball Resurrection Has the Zoo Rocking Again

Head coach Jeff Capel is restoring respectability and re-establishing the relationship between Pitt’s students and Pitt’s student athletes.

Comments

Steelers' Organization Shares Blame for Brown Debacle

Steelers' Organization Shares Blame for Brown Debacle

For years now, the Steelers have been working around Brown’s maladaptive tendencies from Monday through Saturday and throwing him the ball on Sunday and hoping for the best.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Pledge

The 400-Word Review: Pledge

IFC Midnight's collegiate terror tale is mostly for genre fans, but it lands a few decent punches.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Glass

The 400-Word Review: Glass

M. Night Shyamalan's crossover film lands with a splat, as the filmmaker once again can't resist his worst impulses.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Pop Culture Touches Made These Weddings Extra Special

Pop Culture Touches Made These Weddings Extra Special

Whether you love all things Disney, “Game of Thrones” or “Star Wars,” there are lots of ways to add some personal — and fun — details into your wedding day.

Comments

It’s a Hockey Wedding in Pittsburgh

It’s a Hockey Wedding in Pittsburgh

This Pittsburgh couple was brought together by their love of hockey — and what better way to celebrate their New Year’s Eve wedding than with an outdoor game?

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Up for Auction: Luxury 200-Acre Ligonier Estate Owned by Former EDMC Exec

Up for Auction: Luxury 200-Acre Ligonier Estate Owned by Former EDMC Exec

Woodmere is one of four high-end properties owned by Robert Knutson scheduled to hit the auction block this week.

Comments

The Top Five HOME Stories of 2018

The Top Five HOME Stories of 2018

Take a look back at the biggest stories to come out of Pittsburgh’s home and design industry.

Comments