Natalie Graham, assistant professor of African American studies at California State University, Fullerton, has been selected as the winner of the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize from the Brooklyn, New York-based Cave Canem Foundation. The nonprofit organization was founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996 to remedy the underrepresentation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape.
Dr. Graham will receive a cash prize and have her manuscript – Begin With a Failed Body – published by the University of Georgia Press in the fall of 2017. She joined the faculty at California State University, Fullerton in 2013.
In describing her award-winning poetry collection, Dr. Graham said “the collection contains poems that are often dark — reimagining iconic religious, literary, and historical figures. They imagine a haunted Southern landscape where history is inescapable. When they speak of nation, religion or family, they often ruminate on the individual body’s frailty in the face of these larger, sturdier structures.”
Dr. Graham holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in American studies from Michigan State University.
The University of Georgia Press and Morehouse College have announced that they will develop a new book series based on the Martin Luther King Jr. collection held at Morehouse. The archive at Morehouse contains more than 10,000 items including handwritten letters, manuscripts, memorabilia, speeches and sermons, and 1,000 books from Dr. King’s personal library, many of which have handwritten notes on the pages.
The new book series will use the items in the archives to provide new analysis on Dr. King’s views on poverty, racial discrimination, nonviolence, capitalism, education, civil rights, and the Vietnam War.
Vicki L. Crawford, director of the Morehouse Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, said that “we are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the University of Georgia Press to publish a series of books inspired by the unparalleled documents in the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection. As a gathering of teachable texts, this series is an important step in our mission to foster greater understanding of Dr. King and the movement for civil and human rights.”
Frank X. Walker, an associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky, has been named as the poet laureate of Kentucky by Steve Beshear, the state’s governor. He is the first African-American poet to hold that position. Walker also serves as the university’s director of African-American and Africana studies program.He will take the position of poet laureate in a public ceremony that is to take place at the state capitol building in Frankfort.
Walker, who is the author of a number of books, has taught at the University of Kentucky since 2010. Before that, he was a member of the faculty at Northern Kentucky University and at Eastern Kentucky University. He has become well-known for creating the term “Affrilachia,” which is designed to unify Appalachian and African-American culture and history.