2015 Festival



Claudia Rankine

What does it mean to be a citizen in a “post-racial” society? Through poetry, essay, cultural criticism, and visual images, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely author Claudia Rankine tackles the question head on, and the result is a powerful and devastating book unlike any other. In Citizen, Rankine confronts racial aggressions, those she has experienced in life and those we have all experienced in the media and within ourselves. Some of these encounters are slights, seemingly slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV—everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Citizen is an important and timely book, one that will become a touchstone in the necessary discussion about racism in America.

“[Citizen] is an especially vital book for this moment in time. . . . The realization at the end of this book sits heavily upon the heart: ‘This is how you are a citizen,’ Rankine writes. ‘Come on. Let it go. Move on.’ As Rankine’s brilliant, disabusing work, always aware of its ironies, reminds us, ‘moving on’ is not synonymous with ‘leaving behind.’”

—The New Yorker



Claudia Rankine is the author of four previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. She currently serves as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Pomona College in California.

 Bob Holman

Bob Holman’s most recent collection, Sing This One Back To Me (Coffee House Press), includes poems in Welsh, translations from Ukrainian dumy (oral epics), and a section devoted to the Mandinke songs of his griot, Alhaji Papa Susso. A cofounder of the Endangered Language Alliance, he is host of the recent PBS documentary, Language Matters, a film by David Grubin, which he is currently touring worldwide. He has taught “Exploding Text: Poetry Performance” at The New School, Bard, NYU and Columbia, and is the founder and Artistic Director of the Bowery Poetry Club.

Gabriela Jauregui

Gabriela Jauregui is the author of Controlled Decay (Akashic Press/Black Goat Books, 2008) and co-author of Taller de Taquimecanografía (Tumbona ediciones, 2012). Leash Seeks Lost Bitch, her collaborative chapbook (with visual artists Allison Katz and Camilla Wills) is forthcoming from Song Cave (2015) and her first short story collection is also forthcoming this year on Sexto Piso. Her work was recently included in The Animated Reader: Poetry of Surround Audience published by the New Museum, NY in conjunction with the 2015 Triennial. Gabriela received a PhD in Comparative Literature from USC and an MFA in creative Writing from the University of California Riverside. She is a Soros New American Fellow as well as editor and co-founder of Sur+ ediciones collective in Mexico and La Jícara independent bookstore in Oaxaca and member of Collective Task.

Hieu Minh Nguyen 

Hieu Minh Nguyen is a Kundiman fellow, along with the recipient of the Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant from the Loft Literary Center. Hieu’s first book of poetry, This Way to the Sugar (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), is a finalist for both the MN Book Award & the Lambda Literary Award. His work has also appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as The Journal, PANK, The Paris-American, Muzzle, Vinyl, Indiana Review, and other journals. He lives in Minneapolis. 

Edyka Chilomé 

Edyka Chilomé is a Woman of Color writer, spokenword poet, Hip Hop MC, and spiritual activist of diasporic indigenous descent. She holds a B.A. in social and political philosophy with an emphasis in social justice from Loyola University Chicago and a M.A. in Women’s Studies from Texas Women’s University where she focused her research on performance studies and what she calls spiritual

[art]ivism. Edyka has been invited to share her poetry and speak on social justice issues around the country including The Dallas Museum of Art, The Prindle Institute for Ethics, Boston University School of Theology, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, The Texas Democratic Convention, TEDx, and National Public Radio. In 2013 Edyka was a founding member and co host of DFW’s first and only poetry radio show The Free Word on Deep Ellum on Air. She has recently published her first collection of poetry this March entitled She Speaks | Poetry.