Tiana Clark Poetry Reading

Tue, Dec 4 2018 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm
Campus Center 208 Multipurpose Room

TIANA CLARK aims to start a conversation with her poetry: “I’m humming; I want people to hum too.” Subverting old forms and fashioning new ones with electric confidence, her mind draws poetic inspiration from idiosyncratic sources: from crossbites to volcanic eruptions to the image of pop-star Rihanna. Hailing from Tennessee and southern California, Clark majored in Africana Studies and Women’s Studies at Tennessee State University. While working toward her MFA at Vanderbilt University, she was poetry editor of the Nashville Review. Her collection I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood won the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. In rich dialogue with artists and activists across decades, Clark’s poems scatter, divide, expose their gaps, and swallow their own tails. She bravely traces the firsts of southern Black girlhood with vulnerability that Ross Gay describes as “a reaching toward.” Clark’s 2016 chapbook, Equilibrum, chosen by Afaa Michael Weaver for the Frost Place Chapbook Competition, explores a biracial speaker’s inner and outer opposing forces, asking in its title poem “what is left / whispering in us, once we have / stopped trying to become the other?” The recipient of honors such as the Academy of American Poets University Prize and the Rattle Poetry Prize, Clark currently teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

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