GULF COAST POETS – WED, SEP 15 | 8 PM

Darrell Bourque is Professor Emeritus in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he served as director of the Creative Writing and Interdisciplinary Humanities programs. His poetry books include Plainsongs, The Doors Between Us, Burnt Water Suite and The Blue Boat, and his poems from Plainsongs are featured in the Where Land Meets Sky, a catalog of the works of artist Elemore Morgan, Jr. He continues to work as poetry workshop leader and consultant, mostly with the Louisiana Affiliates of the National Writing Project. In November of 2007 he was appointed as Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2008‐2009, by Governor Kathleen Blanco, and his personal initiative for the laureateship is to develop poetry audiences by teaching and reading in the pre‐college classroom as well as in the state’s libraries.

Tonya Foster is the author of poetry, fiction, and essays that have been published in a variety of journals from Callaloo to The Hat to Western Humanities Review. She is the author of A Swarm of Bees in High Court (Belladonna Books) and co-editor of Third Mind: Creative Writing Through Visual Art. She is currently completing a cross-genre piece on New Orleans, and Monkey Talk, an inter-genre piece about race, paranoia, and surveillance.

Yusef Komunyakaa’s numerous books of poems include Pleasure Dome: New & Collected Poems, 1975-1999, Talking Dirty to the Gods, Thieves of Paradise, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems 1977-1989, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Magic City, Dien Cai Dau, which won The Dark Room Poetry Prize, I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head, winner of the San Francisco Poetry Center Award, and Copacetic. Komunyakaa’s prose is collected in Blues Notes: Essays, Interviews & Commentaries. He also co-edited The Jazz Poetry Anthology and co-translated The Insomnia of Fire by Nguyen Quang Thieu. His honors include the William Faulkner Prize from the Universite Rennes, the Thomas Forcade Award, the Hanes Poetry Prize, fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Louisiana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, where he served as a correspondent and managing editor of the Southern Cross. In 1999, he was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. Yusef Komunyakaa is the Senior Distinguished Poet in the Graduate Writing Program at NYU.

Mona Lisa Saloy, author and folklorist, is associate professor of english and director of the creative writing program at Dillard University. Mona Lisa’s first collection of verse, Red Beans and Ricely Yours: Poems, won the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Prize in 2006 and the T. S. Eliot Prize in poetry for 2005, published by Truman State University Press; also, this collection was a finalist for the Morgan Prize from StoryLine Press. In October 2006, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia commissioned Mona Lisa Saloy to compose and perform a poem entitled We celebrating 2006 Liberty Medal recipients and former presidents William J. Clinton and George H.W. Bush. Dr. Saloy also published a chapter in the collection of essays edited by David Starkey entitled Living Blue in the Red States from University of Nebraska Press. She is listed in the Encyclopedia of African American Women Writers, published by Greenwood Press and edited by Yolanda W. Page in 2007.

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