Kaleidoscope: Poetic Forms and Collective Histories

13 May 2023
2:00 pm
Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
Monica Youn, Courtney Faye Taylor, Doug Kearney

When we hear “kaleidoscope,” we imagine a lensed instrument revealing striking, mesmeric patterns. But the word kaleidoscope itself, derived from the Greek kalos, “beautiful,” + eidos, “form,” reminds us that poems too are a lens through which we see patterns, both beautiful and not, of the world around us. In Monica Youn’s inventive poetry collection From From, the poet deconstructs sounds and letters to create a sonic landscape, explores the epidemic of anti-Asian hate, and anatomizes and dissects the Asian Other through poetic sequences. Courtney Faye Taylor’s debut poetry collection, Concentrate, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, uses form and experimentation in found texts, micro-essays, and visual poems, to examine the insidious points at which violence originates against—and between—women of color. In this conversation moderated by acclaimed poet Douglas Kearney, recipient of the 2022 International Griffin Poetry Prize, Youn and Taylor explore how peering into the morphing, recurring, and relentless patterns of White supremacy—and detailing their shape—can provoke deeper conversations about collective histories. How might exploring these histories impact a writer’s approach to and understanding of language?

Douglas Kearney
Monica Youn
Courtney Faye Taylor