Cruel April is a poetry series that takes place every Thursday in April at 6pm, followed by a reception and dialogue with the poets, in commemoration of National Poetry Month. All poets are published in the newest volume of Corresponding Voices, a poetry collection published by Point of Contact that brings poets from different backgrounds together in a dialogue. Events are free and open to the public.
APRIL 4: Rachel Eliza Griffiths and Brooks Haxton
Rachel Eliza Griffiths is the author of four collections of poetry, including Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose 2011), which was selected for the 2012 Inaugural Poetry Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books 2015), which was a finalist for the 2015 Balcones Poetry Prize and the 2016 Phillis Wheatley Book Award in Poetry. Her literary and visual work has been widely published in journals and anthologies, including The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Progressive, The Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, Callaloo, Poets & Writers, The New York Times, American Poetry Review, Ecotone, Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, and many others. Griffiths is widely known for her literary portraits, fine art photography, and lyric videos. Her extensive video project, P.O.P (Poets on Poetry), an intimate series of micro-interviews, gathers nearly 100 contemporary poets in conversation, and is featured online by the Academy of American Poets.
Brooks Haxton, a longtime professor in the English Department's MFA Program in Creative Writing at Syracuse University, has published eight books of poems, one book of creative nonfiction, and four books translations from French, German, and Classical Greek. Recent books include They Lift Their Wings to Cry (a collection of poems from Knopf), Fading Hearts on the River (nonfiction from Counterpoint Press) and My Blue Piano (translations of poems by Else Lasker-Schüler from Syracuse University Press). He has received awards, fellowships, and grants of support for original poetry, translation, and scriptwriting from the NEA, NEH, Guggenheim Foundation, and others.
APRIL 11: Joel Dias-Porter and Nina Puro
Joel Dias-Porter’s poetry engages the act of improvisation through explorations of intimacy, jazz music, and family heritage. In addition to his own CD of jazz and poetry, LibationSong (2002), Dias-Porter is featured on the CD anthology Meow: Spoken Word from the Black Cat (1996). His poetry has also been featured in the anthologies Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (2001) and Catch The Fire!!!: A Cross-Generational Anthology of Contemporary African-American Poetry, on the Today Show, and in the documentaries Voices Against Violence (1994, produced by Regi Allen) and SlamNation (1998, directed by Paul Devlin), as well as the feature film Slam (1998, directed by Marc Levin).Dias Porter’s honors include James Madison University’s Furious Flower Emerging Poet Award, and a second-place finish in the National Poetry Slam’s individual competition. A Cave Canem Fellow and member of Washington DC’s WriterCorps, Porter has taught at Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts.
Nina Puro’s writing is in Guernica, the PEN / America Poetry Series, Witness, and others, including the chapbooks elegy with pilot light (Argos Books, 2017) and The Winter Palace (dancing girl press, 2015). Their first full-length collection of poetry, Each Tree Could Hold a Noose or a House, was the winner of the 2017 New Issues Poetry Prize, and was published in fall 2018. They are a member of the Belladonna Collaborative and recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Syracuse University (MFA, 2012), & others.
APRIL 18: Peter Balakian and Lauren Sanderson
Peter Balakian is the author of seven books of poems, most recently Ozone Journal, which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His books of prose include Black Dog of Fate winner of the PEN/Albrand Award for memoir, and Vise and Shadow: Essays on the Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art, and Culture. Balakian is the recipient of many awards and prizes and civic citations, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, e Presidential Medal from the Republic of Armenia, e Spendlove Prize for Social Justice, Tol- erance, and Diplomacy, and fellowships from Guggenheim and the NEA. His work has been translated into many languages. He is Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities, Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Colgate University. Balakian's poems have been widely anthologized, including in the 1985 Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets, and have been translated into several languages. He has published essays on poetry, culture, and art in numerous journals.
Lauren Sanderson's debut collection, Children Were Listening is forthcoming from Write Bloody Press. A Canadian poet, she was born in Oakville and raised in London, Ontario. She recently graduated from Colgate University with a BA in Creative Writing, where she studied with Peter Balakian. Based currently in Chicago, IL, she is a writer, producer and co-founder of ISO Films LLC, a creative services agency. Her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Beecher’s Magazine, Storm Cellar, Point of Contact, and elsewhere.
APRIL 25: MFA Reading Night
Point of Contact will host students James Abele, Bridget O’ Bernstein, Ross Farrar, Rainie Oet and Allyson Young from Syracuse University’s Master’s program in Creative Writing.