The program is free and open to the public.
Osman, who was born in Somalia, earned a B.A. at Otterbein College and an M.F.A. at the University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers. Kelly is an assistant professor of English at St. Bonaventure. Her debut collection, “Bestiary” (Graywolf Press 2016), was selected by Nikky Finney for the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was nominated for the National Book Award.
“The reading is a special opportunity to welcome Dr. Donika Kelly as a new colleague and collaborator in the English Department. We are delighted to celebrate her award-winning collection ‘Bestiary,’” said Dr. Kaplan Harris, associate professor of English at the university.
“The poems are populated by hybrid mythological creatures that are half-this, half-that and reverberate with the intersectional sound of the times,” he said.
New York Times Sunday Book Review applauded Kelly’s book earlier this month, calling Kelly “a descendant of Sylvia Plath by way of the wintry Louise Glück.”
“The reading also welcomes Ladan Osman, a Somali-American poet who comes to our campus in the wake of the widely denounced travel ban instated by the new administration,” noted Harris. “Osman’s poetry will help the local meet the global in a way that’s certain to provoke new conversations on campus.”
Osman’s chapbook, “Ordinary Heaven,” appears in Seven New Generation African Poets (Slapering Hol Press, 2014). Her full-length collection “The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony” (University of Nebraska Press, 2015) won the Sillerman First Book Prize. Her work has appeared in Apogee, The Normal School, Prairie Schooner, Transition Magazine, and Waxwing. Osman has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, and the Michener Center. She is a contributing culture editor for The Blueshift Journal.
Kelly, a Cave Canem graduate fellow, holds an MFA in writing from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, and in 2013, she received a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University, where she specialized in American literature and film studies.
As with all readings for the Visiting Poets Series, a recording will be available for free download on the series website hosted at PennSound from the University of Pennsylvania.
The program is sponsored by the university’s Department of English, the Center for Arabic and Islamic Studies, the Visiting Scholars Committee, and the Damietta Center for Multicultural Student Affairs.
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