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Thinking Its Presence 2017 has ended
Events from 9:00am to 5:00pm are open only to registered attendees. Please register before October 9, 2017 at https://universityofarizonapoetrycenter.submittable.com/submit/81274/pre-registration-thinking-its-presence-2017-conference-university-of-arizon. For more information, please visit https://poetry.arizona.edu/TIP2017.
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Thursday, October 19 • 9:00am - 10:50am
Preserving Cultural Legacies: Readings From No Others, Refugeed and Remembrance

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Event Description

Readings from three works produced by Aquarius Press, an independent press specializing in underrepresented authors and artists. Founded in 1999, the press has two major divisions:  Willow Books (now in its 10th year) and the newly-formed AUXmedia. Willow Books develops, publishes and promotes many of the nation’s top poets and writers of color, and AUXmedia presents nontraditional work in multimedia formats.

Sokunthary Svay is the author of a forthcoming poetry collection, No Others (Willow Books, 2017), which memorializes the largely untold stories and legacy of Khmer Rouge-era Cambodia. Svay is a Pushcart-nominated Khmer writer and musician from the Bronx, New York. Her writing credits include an essays anthologized in Homelands: Women’s Journeys Across Race, Place and Time, FLESH, The Postpartum Year, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Blue Lyra Review, Newtown Literary, Mekong Review, and Emotive Fruition. She was the 2016 Willow Arts Alliance Residency Fellow and a recipient of the First Friday Residency at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. Her poem “Morning Song” was recently set to music and had a world premiere at the Queens New Music Festival. Svay’s family were refugees from Cambodia after surviving the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.

Reginald Flood’s forthcoming Refugeed (Willow Books, 2017) is a narrative poetry collection based on the oral histories of African Americans  who were enslaved during the most tragic era of American history. Refugeed contains authentic Works Progress Administration (WPA) transcriptions collected during the Roosevelt era. Flood was inspired by the interviewees who answered questions from “strangers representing a government agency about their enslavement with bravery and dignity.” Flood is a recent NEA Fellow in Creative Writing who received a Walker Fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Center. His poems have appeared in The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Cave Canem X Anniversary Collection, Massachusetts Review, African American Review and Mythium. Flood is a Cave Canem fellow and teaches composition, African American literature and creative writing at Eastern Connecticut State University. Flood was also the editor and scholarly consultant for Remembrance (AUXmedia, 2016-2019), a multimedia and cross-disciplinary collaborative preservation project on the WWI-era African American performers and scholars who were involved in the creation of the Harlem Hellfighters Band.

Heather Buchanan is the founder of Aquarius Press and Executive Producer for Remembrance. She is a Digital Humanities scholar and the 2017 Paul Charosh Fellow for the Society for American Music. She is the Director of the Paradise Valley Idlewild Digital Resource, which utilizes technology to preserve the cultural legacies of two rapidly-vanishing African American historic districts in Michigan. She is the Co-Director of the Willow Arts Alliance, which presents readings and workshops for writers of color in culturally significant locales in the U.S.

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All three readings embody this conference’s thematic issues of race, creativity, interdisciplinarity and cultural legacies. Having lived in a refugee camp and then later in the projects of New York City, Sokunthary Svay’s reading will demonstrate the depth of deeply instilled cultural legacies and the power of literature to give voice to a people’s history of violence and displacement. Flood’s reading will illuminate the shameful past of slavery-era America, but in an inventive way that turns the tables on how this story is told. Flood’s work gives voice to a people who have been missing from the discussion of “what really happened.” Blending authentic WWI narratives with poetry and prose, Buchanan’s Remembrance gives voice to African American men and women who—despite their world-changing contributions to the Allied victory in WWI— have literally been left out of the history books. All three readings, while steeped in history, also chronicle the far-reaching personal and collective legacies in the present day. Reginald Flood states it best: “After studying hundreds of these transcriptions from a historical place of privilege I recognize the powerful gift these narratives provide a tangible, material connection to my own past. These words reinforce my gratitude for the fortitude of relatives from that generation whose stories fired my imagination and carved out my aesthetic.” 

 


Moderators
avatar for Sokunthary Svay

Sokunthary Svay

Founder and Board President, Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA)
Southeast Asian American diaspora, Khmer American narratives, refugee writing, challenging the white narratives of war in Southeast Asia, POC teacher in Freshman Composition, the Bronx, NYC, classical music, opera, deep house music

Speakers
avatar for Sokunthary Svay

Sokunthary Svay

Founder and Board President, Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA)
Southeast Asian American diaspora, Khmer American narratives, refugee writing, challenging the white narratives of war in Southeast Asia, POC teacher in Freshman Composition, the Bronx, NYC, classical music, opera, deep house music


Thursday October 19, 2017 9:00am - 10:50am
Poetry Center Classroom 205 (Alumni Room) Poetry Center

Attendees (6)