Celebrate National Poetry Month with Crystal Williams
Join us Saturday, April 7, at 3 o’clock in the Lewis Gallery for a reading with Crystal Williams.
Crystal Williams was one of ten celebrated contemporary poets, including Rita Dove and Nikky Finney, recently commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art to write poems as a part of the Jacob Lawrence Migration Series exhibit. After a reading for the series at MoMA, poet Elizabeth Alexander wrote: “Crystal commanded the reading. The gravitas in her work—gravitas being the word that I would say attends to all of her work—gave that extraordinary historical evening its sense of ballast. I think that’s what she brings in her person and her poems.”
You can find a short video of Williams sharing one of her poems from that series, “Double Helix,” here.
Williams was a regular at the Nuyorican Poets Café in the mid-90’s and competed with the Nuyorican Slam Team. Since her early New York days, she has published four collections of poems, most recently Detroit as Barn, finalist for the National Poetry Series, Cleveland State Open Book Prize, and the Maine Book Award. Her third collection, Troubled Tongues, was awarded the 2009 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the 2009 Oregon Book Award, the Idaho Poetry Prize, and the Crab Orchard Poetry Prize. Of Troubled Tongues, author Dorothy Allison notes, “I love this book—this wonderful adventurous language, this woman turning her wise and tender glance on what it means to be human in ever more difficult times.”
Williams’ work has also regularly appeared in the nation’s leading journals and magazines, including: American Poetry Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, PEN: America, The Indiana Review, The Sun, Tin House, Ms. Magazine, Ploughshares, and Callaloo. Likewise, her poems appear in numerous anthologies, including: Angles of Ascent: The Norton Anthology of African American Poetry, American Poetry: The Next Generation, Efforts and Affections, and Rainbow Darkness.
After several recent years in Maine as Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Professor of English at Bates College, Crystal Williams is currently Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of English at Boston University.
We hope you’ll be able to make it to this very special event in celebration of an incredible voice in contemporary poetry.