About our faculty and panelists

Facing It: The Poetry of Yusef Komunyakaa” (June 18–24, 2017) will be led by the Furious Flower Poetry Center in concert with visiting scholars. In addition, a panel of writers will discuss Komunyakaa’s work through a creative lens. Their credentials and contributions to the intellectual landscape of the seminar are outlined below.

Facing It: faculty and panelists

Michael Collins (faculty) is Associate Professor of English at Texas A&M. His lecture, “Komunyakaa’s Prisoners of War” will discuss how Komunyakaa’s war poems are dense with insights about POWs and those who imprison them. This talk will tease out those insights and what they tell us about cultures and psyches at war.

Meta DuEwa Jones (faculty) is Associate Professor of African American Literature at Howard University. Her lecture, “Yusef Komunyakaa’s Diasporic Vision” will focus on the importance of the visual domain in Komunyakaa’s poetry, particularly what it means to “face it,” to “see things,” including the difficult legacy of violence.

Ed Pavlic (faculty) is Distinguished Research Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. His lecture, “Facing the Sound: Music in the Deep Structure of Yusef Komunyakaa’s Poetry” will explore how an awareness of the Black musical traditions of gospel, blues and jazz informs the deep structure Yusef Komunyakaa's poetic voice and also helps readers and listeners make sense of the wide and complex worlds his poems illuminate.

Flávia Rocha (panelist) is a writer, journalist, and translator. She has translated Komunyakaa’s work into Portuguese and will share the challenges and rewards of bringing his work into a different language and culture, as well as his influence on her community of Brazilian poets.

Angela Salas (faculty) is Professor of English and Director of the Honors Program at Indiana University Southeast. Her lecture, “Resistance to Identity Politics in Talking Dirty to the Gods” will discuss the ways Komunyakaa both embraces and complicates questions of identity. 

Erica Hunt (panelist) is a poet, essayist, teacher, mother, and organizer from New York City whose work is considered central to the avant garde Black aesthetic that developed after the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movements. She will be focusing on Komunyakaa’s poem “Safe Subjects.”

Hermine Pinson (faculty) is Professor of English at the College of William and Mary. Her lecture “Bringing the Blues” will look at the foundational role of blues music in Komunyakaa’s poetry.

This program is funded in part by generous support from

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