Thursday, November 2, 2023
7:00 pm Eastern Time
Cypress Theater @Georgia Tech Student Center
Free and Open to the public
No RSVP or registration required
invites you to
The 22nd Bourne Poetry Reading
Victoria Chang, Vievee Francis, and James Davis May
Thursday, 02 November, 2023
at the Cypress Theater, Georgia Tech Student Center
Reception: 6:00 pm ET
Reading: 7:00 pm ET
The reading is FREE and open to the public.
For more information, contact Travis Denton via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Victoria Chang’s forthcoming book of poems, With My Back to the World will be published in 2024 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Her latest book of poetry is The Trees Witness Everything (Copper Canyon Press, 2022). Her nonfiction book, Dear Memory (Milkweed Editions), was published in 2021. (Copper Canyon Press, 2020), her prior book of poems received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry, and the PEN/Voelcker Award. It was also short-listed for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Griffin International Prize, as well as long-listed for the National Book Award. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Chowdhury International Prize in Literature. She is the Bourne Chair in Poetry at Georgia Tech.
Vievee Francis is the author of The Shared World (Northwestern University Press, 2023); Forest Primeval (TriQuarterly Books, 2015), winner of the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award; Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012), winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize; and Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006).
Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, textbooks, and anthologies, including Poetry, Best American Poetry 2010, 2014, 2017, 2019, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She has been a participant in the Cave Canem Workshops, a Poet-in-Residence for the Alice Lloyd Scholars Program at the University of Michigan, and teaches poetry writing in the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop (USA, UK, and Barbados). In 2009 she received a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and in 2010, a Kresge Fellowship. She is the recipient of the 2021 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry.
James Davis May
James Davis May is the author of two poetry collections, Unquiet Things (Louisiana State University Press, 2016), and Unusually Grand Ideas (Louisiana State University Press, 2023).
May has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Originally from Pittsburgh, he now lives in Macon, Georgia, where he directs the creative writing program at Mercer University.
This fall, after a three year hiatus (for obvious reasons), Poetry@Tech is returning to in-person events. And guess what, We also have a brand-new home: The Cypress Theater in the Georgia Tech Student Center.
The Cypress Theater: Directions & Information
The Cypress Theater (https://studentcenter.gatech.edu/student-center/rooms/cypress) will be Poetry@Tech's new home, after over two decades in the Kress Auditorium at the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking.
With space for an audience of 165 people, and a large banqueting area, the Cypress Theater will be a wonderful venue for our future readings.
The Cypress theater is located on the first level, at the southeast corner of Georgia Tech's newly-renovated John Lewis Student Center building (https://studentcenter.gatech.edu/student-center), located at 350 Ferst Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332.
Please see the maps below for directions to the Student Center and to the Cypress Theater.
As always, A Cappella Books, Atlanta’s oldest independent bookstore will be our official book sales partner for this event. We hope you’ll get a copy (or three) of books by our wonderful featured poets. You can order at the following links:
- Victoria Chang, The Trees Witness Everything (Copper Canyon Press, 2022)
- Victoria Chang, OBIT (Copper Canyon Press, 2020)
- Victoria Chang, Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief (Milkweed Editions, 2021)
- Vievee Francis, The Shared World: Poems (Northwestern University Press, 2023)
- Vievee Francis, Forest Primeval (Triquarterly, 2015)
- James Davis May, Unusually Grand Ideas (LSU Press, 2023)
- James Davis May, Unquiet Things (LSU Press, 2016)
Break Me and I'll Sing
My voice like marrow, a blood-yolk
spilled upon the counter. You can't stop this
song. More hands than yours have closed
around my throat. You may crack me.
You have cracked me. I'm frightened
but so what? I'll testify. Witness,
if you can, listen: I slurped the frog-leg soup
gone bad. Held a brass spoon like a barrel
to my mouth. I could tell you what you want
to hear, but I'd be broken just the same,
so why not sing?
I'm singing now. louder this time and in the round:
We are a-wounding of red-plumed birds. Every voice,
a bloody feather in the bone crown.
(from The Shared World: Poems, 2023)
August 3, 2015. The fake teeth sit in a box in the garage. When she died, I touched them, smelled
them, thought I heard a whimper. I shoved the teeth into my mouth. But having two sets of teeth
only made me hungrier. When my mother died, I saw myself in the mirror, her words in a ring
around my mouth, like powder from a donut. Her last words were in English. She asked for a
Sprite. I wonder whether her last thought was in Chinese. I wonder what her last thought was. I
used to think that a dead person’s words die with them. Now I know that they scatter, looking for
meaning to attach to like a scent. My mother used to collect orange blossoms in a small shallow
bowl. I pass the tree each spring. I always knew that grief was something I could smell. But I didn’t
know that it’s not actually a noun but a verb. That it moves.
James Davis May
(from Rattle, Dec 2022)