Category: Author Spotlight

Category: Author Spotlight

Jackson Heights, NY Poet and Professor Named the 2018 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize Winner

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Jackson Heights, NY Poet and Professor Named the 2018 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize Winner

Ryan Black of Jackson Heights, NY is the 2018 winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. The University of Pittsburgh Press and Pitt Poetry Series will published his collection, “The Tenant of Fire” in fall 2019. Black will also receive a $5,000 cash prize. In explaining his inspiration behind the collection, Black states: “Kirk Semple, a New York Times metro reporter, described Queens, NY, as a “petri dish for what our increasingly diverse and heterogeneous nation is becoming.” The Tenant of Fire is about Queens—its history, both public and personal, real and imagined—and mines the complex, often contradictory, lived…

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<em>Johnstown Girls</em> and <em>Blues Walked In</em> author Kathleen George on Lena Horne, Pittsburgh as setting, and her research process

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Johnstown Girls and Blues Walked In author Kathleen George on Lena Horne, Pittsburgh as setting, and her research process

Pittsburgh is more than just a home for author Kathleen George: the city and its people are a source of inspiration. A native of Johnstown, George has lived in the city for many years, teaches theatre arts and creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, and has written several novels and short stories based in the Pittsburgh region, including The Johnstown Girls. Her latest, The Blues Walked In, is a period fiction novel set against the backdrop of Pittsburgh’s once-bustling Hill District. It’s 1936, and a nineteen year-old Lena Horne is walking to her father’s hotel in the Hill after a long tour with Nobel Sissel’s orchestra. Along the…

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Poem from the Vault: “Blackbottom” by Toi Derricotte

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Poem from the Vault: “Blackbottom” by Toi Derricotte

Poem from the Vault aims to celebrate our diverse poetic history by highlighting backlist poetry from the Pitt Poetry Series. Ed Ochester has been the editor and creative force behind the series since 1978. We kick off Black History Month with a selection from Toi Derricotte’s 1989 collection, Captivity.   © 1989 Toi Derricotte from Captivity What are the forces that cause us to strike out and harm each other? Captivity explores the way in which the individual is held hostage by society; how the forces of racism, sexism, and classism frequently express themselves as violence within the family. The…

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Gratitude for Ross Gay, National Book Award Finalist

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Gratitude for Ross Gay, National Book Award Finalist

The University of Pittsburgh Press (Pitt Poetry Series) is proud to share the news that Ross Gay is one of five finalists for the National Book Foundation, National Book Awards, in the poetry category, for his brilliant collection Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. The winner will be announced on November 18. In our minds he has already won. Here are ten reasons to love Ross Gay:   Gratitude 1: Ross Gay views joy in contemporary poetry as a radical act “I was noticing, like, “Holy shit, look at these wonderful poets and these wonderful readings.” But I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot…

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Poet Nate Marshall on High Fidelity Poetry and Blitzing

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Poet Nate Marshall on High Fidelity Poetry and Blitzing

Nate Marshall, author of Wild Hundreds, winner of UPP’s Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, talks about his love for Chicago’s South Side, hip-hop culture’s influence on his work, and fantasy football. UPP: You are very passionate about the South Side of Chicago, as evidenced in Wild Hundreds, in various interviews and on social media. How would you explain that passion? NM: The South Side is a beautiful place. It can be a hard and complicated place but those are the most rewarding loves. It’s like what Algren says about loving Chicago “you may well find lovelier lovelies but never a lovely so real.”…

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