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Kweli International Literary Festival presents Nikky Finney on Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry with Crystal Wilkinson
July 18, 2020 @ 4:00 pm–5:00 pm
Saturday, July 18, 2020 5PM ET, 2PM PT
The opening keynote conversation between Nikky Finney and Crystal Wilkinson will focus on sisterhood, their decades-long friendship and women writers in the time of Covid. ‟Come see us just be girls,” said Crystal Wilkinson. ‟We are going to pretend y’all aren’t there and just talk about our lives and work. We’ll try not to share too many secrets.”
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Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry is a twenty-first-century paean to the sterling love songs humming throughout four hundred years of black American life. National Book Award winner Nikky Finney’s fifth collection contains lighthouse poems, narrative hotbeds, and treasured artifacts—copper coins struck from a new matrix for poetry, one that testifies from the witness stand and punctuates the occasional lyric within a new language of “docu-poetry.”
The ancestors arise and fly, and the black female body is the “insurgent sensualist,” hunted but fighting to live and love in the ways it wants and knows best: “I loved being / a black girl but had not yet learned / to play dead . . .”
The tenderness of a father’s handwritten notes shadows the collection like a ghost, while the treasured, not-for-sale interiority of a black girl’s fountainhead takes over every page. “One yellaw gal with an all-black tongue has gone missing.” Finney has composed a new black spiritual, and one of the great voices of our time again stamps her singular sound into the new day.
NIKKY FINNEY is the author of five books of poetry, including Head Off & Split (Northwestern University Press, 2011), winner of the National Book Award for Poetry. She is the John H. Bennett, Jr., Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina. Finney has received the Art for Change Fellowship from the Ford Foundation and currently serves as an ambassador for the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s Art for Justice Project.
CRYSTAL WILKINSON, a USA Artist Fellow, is the award-winning author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. Nominated for the John Dos Passos Award, the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, she has received recognition from the Yaddo Foundation, The Vermont Studio Center for the Arts, The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. She has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in Emmergence Magazine, The Kenyon Review, STORY, Agni Literary Journal, Oxford American and Southern Cultures. She currently teaches at the University of Kentucky where she is Associate Professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing Program.