Duriel E. Harris Workshop

On October 31, 2023, Duriel E. Harris attended Dawn Lundy Martin’s Studio in African American Poetry and Poetics course to talk about her book, No Dictionary of a Living Tongue, which students had read. She also gave a talk on poetry in relation to transformative justice, moral witnessing, and ethical responsibility.

Duriel E. Harris is a poet, performer, and sound artist. She is author of the poetry collections No Dictionary of a Living Tongue (Nightboat, 2017), Drag (2003), and Amnesiac: Poems (2010). Multi-genre works include her one-woman theatrical performance Thingification, as well as Speleology (2011), a video collaboration with artist Scott Rankin. Recent and upcoming appearances include performances at the Lake Forest College Allan L. Carr Theatre, the Chicago Jazz Festival (with Douglas Ewart & Inventions), the Greenhouse Theater (Chicago), the Naropa Capitalocene, the Votive Poetics Workshop (New Zealand), and Festival Internacional de Poesía de La Habana (Cuba).

Cofounder of the avant-garde poetry/performance trio the Black Took Collective, and of Call & Response, a dynamic of Black women and performance. Harris has been a MacDowell and Millay Colony fellow and has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the Cave Canem Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Her work has appeared widely, including BAXMandorlaThe &Now AwardsOf Poetry & ProtestPloughsharesTroubling the Line, and The Best of Fence; and her compositions have been translated into Polish, German, and Spanish.

Harris earned degrees in literature from Yale University and New York University, and a PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago Program for Writers. She is an associate professor of English in the graduate creative writing program at Illinois State University and the editor of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora.¹

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