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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

Poetry reads like hip-hop concert

Indiana Review is hosting a poetry and fiction reading tonight to celebrate the journal's special publication that features influential writers of color.\nThe event will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center's Grand Hall.\nWriters Crystal Williams and John Keene will be reading selections from their recent works, and will participate in a roundtable discussion in the Parker Library in Ballantine Hall Room 442. \nThe informal discussion from 3 to 4 p.m. today is open to anyone. Indiana Review editor David Daniels said participants should feel free to speak about anything because the authors are enthusiastic and looking forward to interacting with students. He said the event will be more like a hip-hop concert than a traditional poetry reading.\n"If you've never been to a poetry reading; if you're afraid of poetry, this is the reading for you," he said. "Crystal Williams is so accessible and lively and hilarious and deeply moving. It's streetwise and sassy like hip-hop. It's almost going to be like hearing a live band play."\nIndiana Review is a nationally recognized journal of fiction, poetry and reviews that is published biannually and is entirely student-edited. The special "Writers of Color" edition is the first in the journal's 25-year history and features about 40 writers.\n"It has really solid range," Daniels said of the journal. "It has brand new writers and really established writers."\nThe readings were partially funded by IU's office of Academic Support and Diversity, and the journal, which has met with national enthusiasm, was given a $5,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. This allowed the issue to feature a color cover and a 16-page, full color insert of works by Indiana artists.\nWilliams and Keene, the two selected to read tonight, fall on the side of established writers.\nCrystal Williams, a Detroit native, is an assistant creative writing professor at Reed College in Portland, Ore. She has published a full-length poetry collection called Kin. Her second volume, Lunatic, is scheduled for release this week. Williams said she is looking forward to visiting Bloomington for the first time and is an admirer of the Indiana Review.\n"They'd been kind enough to include my work in the 'Writers of Color' issue, which I love and which, frankly, blew me away with its breadth and scope," Williams said. "So of course I jumped on the opportunity to visit Bloomington."\nWilliams, experienced at reading her works, said the spoken word relates closely to poetry. \n"Aloud poems change, shift, become a collaboration between reader and audience-silences are louder in 'real time,'" she said. "Laughter can transmute meaning, and, the more laughter there is, for example, the more the meaning of a piece can change." \nKeene, who resides in New York, is more familiar with Bloomington. He has taught at IU's annual Writer's Conference. He has also taught at Brown University and NYU and will be teaching at Northwestern in March. He has written a novel, Annotations, and is working on publishing his first book of poetry.\n"I see the 'Writers of Color' issue as an exciting conversation that I'm delighted and honored to participate in," Keene said in an interview featured in the "Writers of Color" issue. "I think it creates a lively forum of views and perspectives across cultures and really points to the vibrancy of contemporary writing in America."\nDaniels said he chose these authors because he respects and supports their work. Although he has not seen Williams read, he met her at a conference and found her to be personable. Daniels said that everyone "really gravitated" toward Keene when he participated in the Writer's Conference.\nCopies of the "Writers of Color" and writings by Williams and Keene will be on sale at the reading tonight.

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