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Line & Verse: Cave Canem Presents Peter J Harris, Duriel E Harris, & Janice Harrington

June 13 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EDT

America’s preeminent organization for Black poets takes the stage for an evening of fellowship and poetry.

Esteemed Pittsburgh poet Toi Derricotte, a dear friend of City of Asylum, co-founded Cave Canem in the 1990s to support and celebrate Black poets. City of Asylum has hosted Cave Canem’s annual Faculty Reading each June since 2010, coinciding with their week-long retreat at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Their retreat residency offers poets an unparalleled opportunity to study with a world-class faculty and join a community of peers with whom they may improve their craft and find productive space. This year’s reading presents poets Peter J Harris, Duriel E Harris, and Janice Harrington.

Cave Canem is a nonprofit organization, committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of Black poets. Founded by artists for artists, Cave Canem fosters community across the diaspora to enrich the field by facilitating a nurturing space in which to learn, experiment, create, and present. Cave Canem develops audiences for Black voices that have worked and are working in the craft of poetry.

About the Poets:

Duriel E. Harris, performance artist, poet, and scholar, is the author of three critically acclaimed volumes of poetry: Drag (2003); Amnesiac: Poems (2010); and No Dictionary of a Living Tongue (Nightboat, 2017), a finalist for the Audre Lorde Award. Multi-genre works include the one-woman theatrical performance Thingification, the videopoem collaboration Speleology, the sound-image project Blood Labyrinth, and the speculative drama Code: A Sport. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, BAX, Letters to the Future, Of Poetry and Protest, the &Now Awards, Imagined Theatres, PEN America, and Poets.org, among others. Duriel has served as the University of Chicago Offen Poet, Visiting Professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Teaching Artist at Lynden Sculpture Garden and the Naropa Summer Writing Program. Professor of English at Illinois State University, Harris is the creator of the O|Sessions pedagogical initiative and the #SyllabusforLiberation. Recognized with the 2023 AWP lifetime achievement George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature, Harris is Editor of the award-winning publishing platform Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora.

Janice N. Harrington’s writing reflects her interest in cultural history, the natural world, visual arts, and African American Life in the South and Midwest. Her latest book of poetry is Yard Show (BOA Editions) grows out of her three earlier books of poems, Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone, The Hands of Strangers, and Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin. Harrington is also an award-winning children’s author. She is a Cave Canem fellow and teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Peter J. Harris, Altadena Poet Laureate Editor in Chief (2022-2024) and Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow (2023-2024), is the author of Safe Arms: 20 Love & Erotic Poems (w/an Ooh Baby Baby moan) and SongAgain. In 2015, his book of poetry, Bless the Ashes, won the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and his book of personal essays, The Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My ‘Unalienable Right,‘ won the American Book Award. Peter is founding director of The Black Man of Happiness Project, a creative, intellectual, and artistic exploration of Black men and joy. He writes the blog WREAKING HAPPINESS: A Joyful Living Journal. Peter is a Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at USC and was the 2018 Los Angeles COLA Fellow in literary arts. He is Founding Publisher/Editor of the LA magazine, The Drumming Between Us: Black Love & Erotic Poetry, (1994 to 1999) and Genetic Dancers: The Magazine for and about the Artistry within African/American Fathers (1984 to 1988). Since the 1970s, Harris has published his work in a wide variety of publications, including Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, Altadena Poetry Anthologies for 2018 and 2019; and Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts in Los Angeles.

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant 40 North is open for dinner from 5-9pm. Please visit Open Table or call 412-435-1111 to make a reservation.

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June 13
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
Program Category:


City of Asylum
(412) 435-1110
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Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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