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The People’s Poetry Archive presents, John Murillo

October 23, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

John Murillo is an associate professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Wesleyan University. He is the author of the poetry collections Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher, 2010; Four Way Books 2020), which was a finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way, 2020); the winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Poetry Society of Virginia’s North American Book Award; and a finalist for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, Believer Poetry Award, Maya Angelou Book Award, Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award, and the NAACP Image Award.

The People’s Poetry Archive is a 2023-24 Mellon Faculty Grant Project by Professor Joshua Bennett. It is a public humanities project setting out to digitally preserve canonical and contemporary poems from across the African diaspora, as well as historically under-theorized works in the realm of spoken word performance. Inspired by the Black feminist poet and educator June Jordan’s vision of “a people’s poetry”—a term she traces to the democratic imaginings of Walt Whitman—the creation of the archive represents an opportunity to address modern questions about the vitality and utility of poetry through sustained cross-pollination between institutions and social scenes. The project is an opportunity for those unfamiliar with poetry’s standard protocols to be surprised, enchanted, and drawn into the fold. Through a combination of live events, invited submissions, and collaborations with university libraries across the country, Bennett creates one of the most capacious living archives of the literary arts—a database featuring not only individual poems, but also recorded interviews, video footage, and a range of other historical materials—anywhere in the world.


October 23, 2023
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


CAMBRIDGE, MA 02139 United States
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Literature Section
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue 14N-407
Cambridge, MA 02139
tel: (617) 253-3581