About the event

One a lyric poet and essayist, the other a jazz poet, Adrienne Rich and Jayne Cortez were American poetry superheroes who produced extensive bodies of work—revealing overlapping visions of social equality in radically distinct aesthetic modes. This multi-media event brings together both poets’ historical works to champion their literary-political engagement. It highlights their feminist voices of resistance, their fight for social justice and global peace.

Based upon the recent collaborative book Jayne Cortez, Adrienne Rich, and the Feminist Superhero, this event celebrates the words of such powerfully political and moral evocation in these women’s writings with academic talks, poetry performances, music and movement. Like the poets themselves, the event will critique the distorted lenses through which Americans still regard gender, race, ethnicity, sexualities, and disability. Many guest speakers and performers will join together to reclaim and reframe the poets’ literary social critiques and insights, including the distinguished Aldon Lynn Nielson of Penn State, feminist multi-media artist Linda Stein, jazz musician Bill Cole, and many other writers, critics, and performers.

A reception will follow with food and opportunities for further discussion.


Master of Ceremonies:
Virginia Vasquez and Janelle Poe

5 pm: Aldon L. Nielsen, Kelly Professor of American literature at Penn State University:
"Fragments: Jayne Cortez"

5:45 pm: Laura Hinton, Renee Kingan, Janelle Poe, Joanna Fuhrman, Michelle Valadarez, with Kany Dialo (dancer) and Warren Smith (drums):
Performance group reading of Jayne Cortez poem, “If a Drum is a Woman”

6 pm: Conor Tomas Reed, Iemanjá Brown, Talia Shalev, and Wendy Tronrud:
Performance reading of Adrienne Rich poem, “Diving into the Wreck””

Conor Tomas Reed, "Treasures That Prevail": Adrienne Rich's underwater survival poetics in early Open Admissions City College of New York.

6:15 pm: Qinghong Xu, Anhui University, China, and U.S. Fulbright Scholar 2016-‘17:
“Adrienne Rich’s Impact on Chinese Feminist Literary Scholars and Women Writers”

6:30 pm: Linda Stein, feminist artist, multi-media sculptor and activist based in New York City: "Fierce Females and Icons of Protection" Lecture and slide show on gender fluidity, the “fierce female” in popular culture and art, and art as feminist political resistance.
7 pm:
Music / Poetry Interlude featuring the jazz poetics of Jayne Cortez, organized by Renee Kingan: Musicians include Bill Cole, (woodwinds), Joseph Daley (euphonium), Warren Smith (percussion), and Guest Vocalist; pieces include "For the Brave Young Students in Soweto" and “US/Nigerian Relations.”
7:30 pm: Laura Hinton
, Renee Kingan, Michelle Valadarez, Qinghong Xu, with Emilie Rosenblatt and Kany Dialo (dancers): Performance group reading of excerpts from Adrienne Rich’s prose essays and poetry about the female body.

Steve Dalachinsky, poet and performer based in New York City:
Performance reading of Jayne Cortez’s “I See Chano Pozo”

Collage Reading:
Julie Patton
, multi-media poet and performer based in New York City and Ohio, reading Adrienne Rich’s “The Burning of Paper instead of Children”
Patricia Spears Jones, reading Jayne Cortez’s “Push Back the Catastrophes” and other works from Cortez
8-9 PM RECEPTION: Food & informal discussion
The Graduate Center English Department Lounge, Room 4406

Cosponsored by Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative