Poet, scholar and professor Simone White, winner of the Whiting Award whose innovative work has also received New American Poet (2013) recognition from the Poetry Society of America and a prestigious Creative Capital Award, will be the guest speaker for the annual Robert UB’s Creeley on Poetry and Poetics.
This year’s Creeley Lecture is a two-day virtual presentation that opens with White’s lecture at 7:30 p.m. on October 21 and continues at 3 p.m. on October 22 with a collective reflection and response to his keynote led by artist, writer and cultural theorist Hannah Black. .
White’s lecture, titled “Extending to What,” will focus on the need for performance in poetry and poetry as a performative event. It will also explore the possibilities of expanding a poetic practice today.
“Simone White is an unrivaled and intellectually inspiring writer of poetry and various genres of critical prose, including art criticism, literary criticism, aesthetics, critical race theory, and legal criticism,” said said Judith Goldman, associate professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences and director of the poetry program in the English department. “In his critical writing, White goes to the heart of very contemporary cultural forms. Her poetry amazingly embodies writing as thought, working the very edges of thought to reveal the crevices of language and apathy in relation to race, gender, sexuality.
Separate online registrations, which are required for each conference day, can be made online.
Simone White’s Creeley Lecture builds on a tradition of previous speakers Nathaniel Mackey, Jerome McGann and Lisa Robertson. But the conference is not a low-key event, but rather the opening of what Goldman calls “a necessary conversation.”
“We’re starting to put this in motion through the accompanying discussion moderated by Hannah Black responding to the conference, to begin what we envision as a long series of exchanges, especially as the lectures are also published with commentary in a series with SUNY Press, “she says.
Goldman says Simone White and Hannah Black are asking questions across media, including poetry, visual arts, music, and online platforms.
“As artists, they blur the institutional lines regarding what belongs to where, redefining what anchors are and what they can be, finding vectors of artistic creation to escape commodification and symbolic hold through which white institutions exercise their dominance, ”says Goldman. “Both gravitate towards potential resistance through poetry and its performance.
“The two days promise to be enriching experiences.”
White is the Stephen M. Gorn Family Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. Since joining Penn in 2018, she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in addition to leading poetry workshops. She specializes in 20th and 21st century black studies and radical black poetics, and the author of “Dear Angel of Death”, “Of Being Dispersed”, “House of Envy of All the World”, “Unrest” and “Dolly” (with Kim Thomas). An upcoming book, “Or, Be the Other Woman,” will be released next year. Her poetry and critical essays have appeared in Artforum, Boston Review and Harper’s Magazine.
White’s work is informed by multidisciplinary training.
A practicing lawyer for seven years before focusing on her writing, White earned a JD from Harvard Law School, an MFA from the New School, and a PhD in English from CUNY Graduate Center. Writing, however, has been an interest of almost a lifetime. She told the Yale Daily News that she “had always been sort of a secret poetry writer – even as a very, very young person in high school.”
The Robert Creeley Annual Lecture is an opportunity for the UB community to embrace and invite others to recognize one of the most important and influential poets of the 20th century. Creeley (1926-2005) was a distinguished SUNY professor and author of over 60 books of poetry and criticism. He was the Samuel P. Capen professor of poetics at UB and a faculty member at the university from 1966 to 2003, when he left to become professor emeritus at Brown University.