The New Social Environment#431

Radical Poetry Reading with Cynthia Dewi Oka

Featuring Cortney Lamar Charleston, Airea D. Matthews, Trapeta Mayson, and Rajiv Mohabir


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Cynthia Dewi Oka curates the 60th Radical Poetry Reading featuring poetry read by Cortney Lamar Charleston, Airea D. Matthews, Trapeta Mayson, and Rajiv Mohabir.

In this talk

Cynthia Dewi Oka

Cynthia Dewi Oka
Photo by Jose Quintana
Poet Cynthia Dewi Oka is the author of Fire Is Not a Country, forthcoming in fall 2021 from Northwestern University Press (NUP), Salvage: Poems (NUP 2017), and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water (Thread Makes Blanket 2016). The recipient of the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize and the Leeway Transformation Award, her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, POETRY, Academy of American Poets, The Rumpus, PANK, Guernica, and elsewhere. She has taught creative writing at Bryn Mawr College and is a 2021-2022 Amy Clampitt Resident. She is the creator of Sanctuary: A Migrant Poetry Workshop for immigrant poets based in Philadelphia, and is originally from Bali, Indonesia.

Cortney Lamar Charleston

A portrait of Cortney Lamar Charleston
Poet Cortney Lamar Charleston is the author of Doppelgangbanger (Haymarket Books, 2021), and Telepathologies (Saturnalia Books, 2017), selected by D.A. Powell for the 2016 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and fellowships from Cave Canem and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, he serves as a poetry editor at The Rumpus and on the editorial board at Alice James Books. Charleston spent his childhood bouncing between Chicago’s South Side and its South and West Suburbs, which, alongside his interest in the physical and sociological construction of cities, immediately influences his written work.

Airea D. Matthews

A photograph of Airea D. Matthews
Poet Airea D. Matthews’s first collection is the critically acclaimed Simulacra, which received the prestigious 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. The collection explores the topics of longing and desire with power, insight, and intense emotion. Matthews received a 2020 Pew Fellowship, a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and was awarded the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from the 2016 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Matthews earned her MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She is an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College where she directs the poetry program.

Trapeta B. Mayson

A photograph of Trapeta B. Mayson
Liberian-born poet, teacher, and social worker Trapeta B. Mayson is the 2020–2021 Poet Laureate of the city of Philadelphia. She is the author of the poetry collection Mocha Melodies (Liberian Girl Publishing Company) and the chapbook She Was Once Herself (2012). Her work has been featured in the American Poetry Review, Epiphany, Aesthetica Magazine, Margie: The American Journal of Poetry, and others. Mayson is a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow, as well as the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in Literature, Leeway Transformation and Art and Change Grants, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant. She uses the arts to mobilize community and create change.

Rajiv Mohabir

A portrait of Rajiv Mohabir
Indo-Caribbean American poet Rajiv Mohabir is the author of three acclaimed poetry collections, The Taxidermist’s Cut (Four Way Books, 2016), Cowherd’s Son (Tupelo Press, 2017), and Cutlish (Four Way Books, September 2021). He is the author of a book of translations I Even Regret Night (Kaya Press, 2019) and a hybrid memoir Antiman (Restless Books, 2021). He is winner of the 2015 Kundiman Prize, a 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant, a finalist for the 2017 Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry, and has received fellowships from Kundiman, The Home School, and The American Institute of Indian Studies. He holds an MFA in Poetry and Translation from Queens College, CUNY and his PhD in English from the University of Hawaii. Mohabir is a professor at Emerson College.

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