Tuesday, August 11, 2015

City of Asylum Stages Annual Garden Poetry Walking Tour

Tameka Cage Conley will speak at Garden Poetry Walking Tour
City of Asylum's annual walking-tour is now in its 9th year. In past years, it took place the same day as Jazz Poetry Concert. But now it's being given a day of its own: August 15 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Writers in the Gardens is staged in four different gardens in the Mexican War Street area, near Sampsonia Way. Small groups are led from garden to garden. In each garden, a different writer does a short reading. For a grand finale, we will are rejoin for a fifth reading, together, in the Alphabet City Tent (318 Sampsonia Way), where two visiting writers, Birgul Oguz and Armen Ohanyan --from Turkey and Armenia-- will do a short reading. Peter Trachtenberg will also be doing a short reading in the tent. A book signing follows the final reading.

This year's event is curated by Peter Trachtenberg. and he has chosen an interesting mix of poets and prose writers, established and up-and-coming—Geeta Kothari, William Lychack, Jenny Johnson and Tameka Cage Conley. Each writer has also been commissioned by City of Asylum to write a special text for the garden in which he or she will be reading. 

Free but limited to 72 people. Reserve your spot with the button above or call Karen Simpson at 412-323-0278.

Geeta Kothari is the editor of ‘Did My Mama Like to Dance?’ and Other Stories about Mothers and Daughters (Avon).  She is the recipient of a fellowship in literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (2003, 2005), and her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Superstition Review, Fourth Genre, and Best American Essays. She is the nonfiction editor at the The Kenyon Review and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.

Tameka Cage Conley, PhD, is a literary artist who writes poetry, fiction, and plays. She received the doctoral degree in English in 2006 from Louisiana State University, where she was a recipient of the Huel Perkins Doctoral Fellowship.  In 2010, she received the August Wilson Center Fellowship in literary arts. Her first play, Testimony, was produced at the Center in May 2011. An excerpt of the play is published in the anthology 24 Gun Control Plays and has been performed in Los Angeles and the Darlinghurst Theatre Company in Sydney, Australia.  Her poems are published in Callaloo, The Portable Boog Reader, African American Review, Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature, and a special online feature of the Southeast Review in response to the Ferguson protests that spread across the nation. An excerpt of her novel-in-progress, This Far, By Grace, is also published in Huizache.  She has received writing fellowships from Cave Canem, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Squaw Valley Writers Conference and Workshops.  In October 2013, she received the Eben Demarest Trust grant, awarded annually to an artist or archaeologist, to support the completion of her novel-in-progress. Last month, her poem "Losing" was chosen by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book as one of four featured poems for the Public Poetry Project in 2015.

Jenny Johnson’s poems appear in The Best American Poetry, Troubling the Line: Trans & Genderqueer Poetry & Poetics, New England Review, Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, and elsewhere. She was the winner of a 2015 Whiting Writers Award. She has also received awards and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Currently, she is a Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh where she teaches writing.

William Lychack is the author of a novel, The Wasp Eater, and a collection of stories, The Architect of Flowers, as well as two children’s books and a nonfiction book about the history of cement. His work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, and on public radio’s This American Life. He is currently an assistant professor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Photo by Tony Eprile.

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